Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Janet Jedlicka


A miscommunication between referral sources and therapists can lead to difficulties for both parties, as such the purpose of this study is to better understand the perspectives of primary care providers regarding the referral and communication process to equine facilitated occupational therapy. A phenomenological qualitative design was used, seven physicians were recruited through purposive sampling. Each physician participated in a 15-minute interview consisting of 10 open ended questions designed to explore their experiences and perspectives regarding referrals to an occupational therapy program utilizing equine movement. Themes identified in 4 categories were referrals, payment, education and marketing, and communication and updates. Outcomes indicated that the participants needed a better understanding of services provided by occupational therapists and the equine assisted facility. The participants wanted ongoing communication through electronic means but valued a call when a major event occurred. Most of the providers referred to the agency when a family requested the services. They were concerned about reimbursement for therapy and were not aware of options. Based on the results, recommendations were made to the current referral and documentation process. A brochure was also developed to educate referral resources and market the program. Educating referral sources about the distinct value of occupational therapy is needed to ensure that appropriate referrals to occupational therapy are made. Interprofessional teamwork and communication are essential for providing quality interventions. It is important to understand the role of team members and develop mechanisms for ongoing communication.