Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Occupational Therapy Doctorate


Brain Health

First Committee Member

Donnamarie Krause

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Kinney

Number of Pages



Purpose: The purpose of this research was to determine if a 4-week aquatic-based, large-amplitude exercise program would increase strength and coordination for occupational performance in areas of activities of daily living (ADLs) and mobility in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) stage I-II, functional mobility as measured by Timed Up and Go test, and quality of life as measured by PDQ-39 in relation to occupational engagement.Methodology: Recruitment was through capstone placement site, Hands on Rehab, 7921 Professional Circle, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, in which a signed EAA was on file. Informed Consent was reviewed by the student-clinician as well as the supervising clinician prior to assessments or engagement in the program. One participant met criteria and was recruited for the four-week program that ran from February 2023 - March 2023. Data was analyzed through Paired t-test of survey pre- and post-measures. Outcome: The participant in this study was 68 years old with a Hoehn and Yahr stage of 1.5, indicating mild Parkinson's disease symptoms. The statistical analysis revealed a clinically significant improvement in TUG scores, with a notable decrease of about 32% (from 17.51 seconds to 11.92 seconds). The participant went from a fall risk to no fall risk. Similarly, the PDQ-39 showed an improvement of 34.1% with a p-value of p = 0.058. These findings suggest that the aquatic intervention employed in this study has the potential to positively impact balance, functional mobility, and quality of life in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Conclusion: The project was significant for the occupational therapy (OT) profession as it revealed the beneficial and safe impact of aquatic therapy on the occupational performance of individuals with PD (stages I and Il), indicating the need for further research to improve outcomes within the scope of practice for OT practitioners. Aquatic therapy, similar to OT, follows a holistic approach to assess clients through an occupational lens and aligns with the OT profession's scope of practice. The study's primary objective was to determine the program's feasibility, which was supported through the results. Additionally, the study aimed to examine the views of a participant with PD on this large-amplitude aquatic therapy program's effects on posture, balance, and functional performance, paving the way for meaningful assessments, outcomes, and future studies.


Aquatic Therapy; Occupational Therapy; Parkinson's Disease


Occupational Therapy

File Format


File Size

2730 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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