Credentials Display

Deborah Clymer, MSOT/S; Hadley Fields, EdM, MSOT/S; Kathy Kniepmann, OTD, MPH, EdM, OTR/L


Background: Family caregivers of stroke survivors often feel unprepared and overwhelmed post discharge with numerous unmet needs. Occupational therapists can play an integral role in addressing family caregivers’ needs. Limited research exists on assessment practices of occupational therapists in identifying caregivers’ needs poststroke. This study explores the practices and perspectives of occupational therapists in assessing unmet caregivers’ needs.

Method: A cross-sectional, mixed methods research design was used to electronically survey 15 occupational therapists. Part 1 of the survey explored participant methods for identifying caregivers’ needs and their views on using formal caregiver assessment tools. Part 2 gathered participant perspectives on three selected caregiver assessments. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were used to interpret the data.

Results: The participants perceive formal assessments as beneficial. However, they use informal strategies to assess the unmet needs of caregivers rather than formal assessment. Reimbursement challenges, productivity pressure, and questionable necessity are barriers to conducting formal assessments. Advantages and disadvantages of each assessment are discussed.

Conclusion: Occupational therapists face barriers to conducting formal assessment across settings. Implementation of recent policies is needed to further support occupational therapy’s role in addressing caregivers’ needs. This study can inform future development of assessment tools tailored to occupational therapy.


The authors report that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.