Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Jennifer Hutson


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Introduction: For a growing number of older adults, chronic health conditions and pain result in reduced quality of life (QoL) and significant health care costs (CDC, 2019; CDC, 2020). Due to the opioid epidemic, alternative interventions for managing pain are important (NIH, 2020). A St. Catherine University interprofessional research team conducted a study entitled, “Examining the impact of Far Infrared Technology in Addition to Pain Education on Quality of Life in Older Adults.”

Purpose: The aims of this project were three-fold: to create accessible pain education materials for older adults, provide training to occupational therapy (OT) fieldwork students, and oversee study implementation with 11 team members.

Approach: Education materials and training protocols were developed using evidence-based literature reviews and formative drafting processes. The effectiveness of the materials was evaluated using surveys that contained a mix of Likert scale scores and open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze ordinal data and level 1 & 2 coding were used for qualitative responses.

Outcomes: 15 out of 15 older adults would recommend the pain education materials to others, with 100% of survey responses to questions about the materials being “excellent” or “good”. OT Student’s perceived knowledge and confidence increased with statistical significance after practical experience administering assessments with study participants.

Implications: The pain education materials were effective, with frequently identified key learnings presented in both narrated and print form. Future research could incorporate a pre/posttest to capture change in respondent’s pain knowledge. Training followed by practical experience is an effective approach to increase OT student knowledge and confidence in administering assessments. Future research could add a baseline survey to capture student knowledge prior to receiving training.

Conclusion: Collaboration in research across disciplines with tiered mentorship involving faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students is mutually beneficial for conducting research.