Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: An Exploratory Study of Factors Influencing Occupational Therapy Home Programming Engagement
Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Anne M. Haskins
Cerebral Palsy -- rehabilitation; Child; Developmental Disabilities -- therapy; Home Care Services; Occupational Therapy
Purpose: Home programming for children with disabilities is prescribed frequently by occupational therapists as an effective adjunct to practice-setting occupational therapy. The effectiveness of home programming is largely influenced by the degree to which caregivers (and children) adhere to the home programming parameters. Numerous factors are thought to promote or limit home programming adherence but there is a lack of quantitative research addressing the relationships between these factors and home programming adherence. The purpose of this quantitative, independent study was to explore the factors that are correlated with or influence caregivers’ adherence to their child’s occupational therapy home program. A secondary purpose of this study was to analyze the reliability of the Multi-dimensional Occupational Therapy Home Programming Engagement Survey.
Methods: A prospective, exploratory online survey design was used to gather data to answer the research questions. Following IRB approval, convenience sampling was used to access respondents and gather data. Fifteen caregivers of children with disabilities completed a 44 question online survey. The Multi-dimensional Occupational Therapy Home Programming Engagement Survey was created by the researchers and was guided by the concepts within the Model of Human Occupation. Statistical analysis was used to analyze descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlations, Spearman rho’s, tests of internal consistency, and ANOVAs to answer the research questions.
Results: The results indicated significant relationships between caregiver home programming adherence and the perceived benefits to the child, caregiver value for the home program, activities fitting within the families’ daily routine, the frequency that the home program is recommended throughout the week, and the age of the child receiving occupational therapy home programming. Each of these factors contributed to greater caregiver adherence with implementing the child’s home program. No statistical significance was reached for adherence related to the environment, child and caregiver performance capacity, demographics, and the child’s ability to complete daily tasks within his or her home and school, as well as to socially interact. These factors were not related to home programming adherence.
Conclusion: Numerous factors influence caregiver and children’s occupational therapy home programming adherence. In order to increase overall adherence rates to home programming, it is essential that occupational therapists consider and engage in discussion about these factors (i.e. caregiver value, benefits to child, daily routines, etc.) with caregivers when prescribing pediatric home programs. Finally, further quantitative research studies are needed to more fully understand the variables influencing familial home programming engagement and methods that occupational therapists may use to enhance home programming adherence.
Joersz, Sara E. and Polansky, Rebecca I., "Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: An Exploratory Study of Factors Influencing Occupational Therapy Home Programming Engagement" (2013). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 96.