Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Background. Stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term disability in the United States, with many stroke survivors experiencing cognitive impairment. Despite the prevalence and impact of cognitive impairment amongst the post stroke population, the evidence for functional cognition assessment and intervention in occupational therapy practice is not well described, and there is currently no evidence available exploring the perceptions of occupational therapists regarding functional cognition for stroke survivors.

Purpose. The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of occupational therapists assessing and treating functional cognition in individuals following stroke.

Methods. This qualitative descriptive study included occupational therapists working in various clinical settings where they assess and treat individuals following stroke. The study included one-on-one virtual interviews with participants which were analyzed using an inductive approach to thematic analysis.

Results. From participant responses, three key themes and associated subthemes arose from the data. The themes highlighted that knowledge, observation, and interdisciplinary care matter for addressing functional cognition.

Conclusion. Occupational therapists who treat individuals with cognitive impairment identify occupational analysis and occupation-based interventions as the most beneficial tools in assessing and treating cognition, and found that objective and standardized methods to address cognition are limited due to the barriers of health service delivery or the assessment itself. Therapists also lack confidence with addressing functional cognition due to difficulty capturing objective data in performance-based assessments, and due to lack of training in professional education programs. Finally, this study emphasizes the value of interdisciplinary care in stroke rehabilitation across settings.

Faculty Mentor

Cassandra Ginn, OTD, OTR/L, CBIS

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Renee Causey-Upton, PhD, OTD, MS, OTR/L, CLA

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)