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Free Content Occupational therapy for upper limb post-stroke sensory impairments: a survey

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Purpose: Upper limb post-stroke sensory impairments have an impact on a significant number of stroke survivors. There is limited research in this area and it is unclear how occupational therapists are addressing sensory impairments in clinical practice. This study aimed to investigate the clinical practice patterns of occupational therapists, perceived barriers to providing interventions and information sources used when addressing upper limb post-stroke sensory impairments.

Methods: A survey was sent to 500 randomly selected occupational therapists in the United States.

Findings: The majority of the 145 respondents reported frequently assessing sensation, and half reported providing interventions for sensory impairments. Interventions primarily focused on providing passive sensory stimulation followed by compensatory strategies. Most therapists provided patient/caregiver education about safety. Therapists cited lack of knowledge and skills, patients' short length of stay and lack of time as barriers to utilizing interventions. Most therapists reported not being up to date with current research and requested continuing education to support practice.

Conclusion: This survey established a profile of American occupational therapists' practice with people with upper limb post-stroke sensory impairments. Therapists have a need for information and training in all aspects of the management of upper limb post-stroke sensory impairment. Further research, evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and exploring therapists' clinical decision making when choosing interventions, is also needed.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802213X13807217284143

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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 http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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