Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen


Communication; Contracture -- prevention & control; Patient Positioning; Pressure Ulcer -- prevention & control


Approximately 98,000 people die annually in the United States due to medical errors (Institute of medicine, 2013). These medical errors are most often due to miscommunication between healthcare providers (Sutcliffe, Lewton, & Rosenthal, 2004). Impaired positioning is one type of medical error, which leads to severe complications such as contractures, pressure ulcers, and occupational deficits (Amidei, 2012; de Jong, Nieuwboer, & Aufdemkampe, 2006; Gordon, Gottschlich, Helvig, Marvin, & Richard, 2004). The purpose of this scholarly project is to provide a communication tool that will increase interprofessional communication and collaboration in regards to client positioning needs in healthcare settings. A literature review was conducted on positioning guidelines, communication strategies and barriers, and teaching strategies. The five target diagnoses of this scholarly project were traumatic brain injury (TBI), cerebral vascular accident (CVA), spinal cord injury, burn, and orthopedic injury. The goal of this program is to decrease secondary complications related to improper positioning that will impede occupational performance by providing consistent and evidence-based positioning strategies. The Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), Social Learning Theory, and Dynamical Systems Theory were utilized to guide the creation of this scholarly project. The resulting product was an adaptable interdisciplinary communication tool to guide positioning of clients with the aforementioned diagnoses as well as other individuals with limited mobility. Through implementation of this communication tool, clinicians can provide consistent and evidence-based positioning to their clients, increase interdisciplinary communication and carryover of care, and assist in prevention of secondary medical complications related to improper positioning.