Are Occupational Therapists losing Sight of Hemianopia?

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The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge base surrounding hemianopia and to collate the rehabilitation principles offered by members of the National Association of Neurological Occupational Therapists (NANOT). A questionnaire was sent to 250 randomly selected members of NANOT. The completed questionnaires (n = 120) represented approximately a quarter of the total number of NANOT members at the time of the study.

The mean post-registration time of the respondents was 11 years (SD 0.6). All United Kingdom geographical areas apart from Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man were represented. A wide range of clinical areas was also represented.

The results showed that 92% of the respondents provided an accurate definition of hemianopia as the loss of half of the visual field. However, 48.3% reported that they were not testing every individual with a stroke for hemianopia. A third of the respondents stated that 80-100% of individuals with hemianopia always needed occupational therapy to compensate. The respondents also rated their understanding of eight neurovisual terms and, out of a total possible score of 80 (full understanding of terms), the mean score was 41 (SD 2.9).

The occupational therapist's role in the assessment/rehabilitation of hemianopia emerged in four categories: education, compensation, assessment of effects and diagnosis. Even if individuals were made aware of their hemianopia, 62% of the respondents reported that there were resulting problems in the individual's engagement in occupation (aspects of self-care, productivity and leisure).

These results are discussed in the context of the available literature and conclusions are drawn. A recommendation is made to improve the awareness and rehabilitation of individuals with hemianopia by occupational therapists.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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