Cognitive impairment is a common and often debilitating consequence of stroke. The current practice patterns of Australian occupational therapists who work in this area are not clearly known. The aim of this study was to investigate the theoretical approaches, assessments, interventions and research evidence used by Australian occupational therapists who work with patients who have cognitive impairment poststroke.
A self-administered, purpose-designed online survey was used.
Survey responses were received from 102 occupational therapists. The client-centred approach was the most commonly used theoretical approach, with 81.3% and 72% using it often or all of the time with inpatients and outpatients, respectively. Assessments that were most frequently used were the Mini Mental State Examination (63.7% of participants), the Lowenstein Occupational Therapy Cognitive Assessment (45.1%), the Functional Independence Measure (57.8%, and the Assessment of Living Skills and Resources (10.0%). Interventions involving functional activities were used more frequently than compensatory techniques, such as diaries, alarms, or other electronic devices, and paper and pencil remedial exercises. Few (16%) participants used computer programs specifically designed for cognitive rehabilitation. Although 60.8% of the participants reported using research literature when making decisions about interventions, a higher percentage reported relying on their past experience (88.3%) and colleagues' opinions (77.4%).
This study provides an insight into the current practices of Australian occupational therapists who work with people who have cognitive impairment after stroke. Client-centredness is emphasised in current practice; however, the use of research evidence to inform practice appears to be limited.