Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Debra Hanson


Intensive Care Units; Occupational Therapy $x methods


Purpose: The purpose of this project was to create a quick reference guide for occupational therapists treating clients in the intensive care unit (ICU) in order to increase quality of care, decrease medical errors, and improve confidence.

Methods: A literature review was conducted to determine the needs of occupational therapists and other health professionals working in the ICU environment. It was discovered that occupational therapists do not receive specific education on treating clients in the ICU and that there are no specific resources for occupational therapists currently available. Rehabilitation is beginning sooner within the ICU in order to decrease client length of stay and hospital costs, which will in turn bring more occupational therapists to work in this area of practice. The increasing number of therapists working in this area, establishes a need for this product.

Results: Through the literature review and consultation with the University of North Dakota Simulation Center, a quick reference guide to occupational therapy within the ICU was created to provide occupational therapists with technical information about the person, the environment, and occupations within the ICU. The quick reference guide was designed through the guidance of Person-Environment-Occupation model.

Conclusions: In order to provide quality and client centered care within the ICU; it is pertinent for health professionals to have specialized knowledge and skills specific to this area of practice. Through research and personal experience, it was evident that occupational therapists and many health professionals do not feel confident treating clients in the ICU. The limitations of this project include: the quick reference guide has not been piloted, the equipment is constantly advancing requiring the update of equipment in the guide frequently, and that it is not comprehensive and only provides the most relevant pieces of equipment to occupational therapy. Further recommendations for the quick reference guide include: implementing it into the University of North Dakota Occupational Therapy curriculum, use by fieldwork students, utilization by other health care professionals, and the adaptation of the guide for use by families.