Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Disability and rehabilitation


Abstract Purpose: To develop a patient reported outcome measure of active and passive function in the hemiparetic upper limb. Methods: Potential items for inclusion were identified through (a) systematic review and analysis of existing measures and (b) analysis of the primary goals for treatment in a spasticity service. Item reduction was achieved through consultation with a small, purposively selected multi-disciplinary group of experienced rehabilitation professionals (n = 10) in a three-round Delphi process. This was followed by a confirmatory survey with a larger group of clinicians (n = 36) and patients and carers (n = 13 pairs). Results: From an initial shortlist of 75 items, 23 items were initially identified for inclusion in the arm activity measure (ArmA), and subsequently refined to a 20-item instrument comprising 7 passive and 13 active function. In common with the six measures identified in the systematic review, a five-point ordinal scaling structure was chosen, with ratings based on activity over the preceding 7 days. Conclusions: The ArmA is designed to measure passive and active function following focal interventions for the hemiparetic upper limb. Content and face validity have initially been addressed within the development process. The next phase of development has involved formal evaluation of psychometric properties. Implications for Rehabilitation In clinical practice or research, outcome measures in rehabilitation need to have face and content validity. Following stroke or brain injury, goals for rehabilitation of the hemiparetic upper limb may be: to restore active function, if there is return of motor control or to improve passive function making it easier to care for the limb (e.g. maintain hygiene) if no motor return is possible, measurement of both constructs should be considered. This study describes the systematic development of the ArmA, a measure of active and passive function in the hemiparetic upper limb.

Concepts: Motor skill, Armas, Face validity, Validity, Content validity, Traumatic brain injury, Upper limb, Psychometrics


Purpose: To develop a transdisciplinary conceptualization of social belonging that could be used to guide measurement approaches aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of community-based programs for people with disabilities. Method: We conducted a narrative, scoping review of peer reviewed English language literature published between 1990 and July 2011 using multiple databases, with “sense of belonging” as a key search term. The search engine ranked articles for relevance to the search strategy. Articles were searched in order until theoretical saturation was reached. We augmented this search strategy by reviewing reference lists of relevant papers. Results: Theoretical saturation was reached after 40 articles; 22 of which were qualitative accounts. We identified five intersecting themes: subjectivity; groundedness to an external referent; reciprocity; dynamism and self-determination. Conclusion: We define a sense of belonging as a subjective feeling of value and respect derived from a reciprocal relationship to an external referent that is built on a foundation of shared experiences, beliefs or personal characteristics. These feelings of external connectedness are grounded to the context or referent group, to whom one chooses, wants and feels permission to belong. This dynamic phenomenon may be either hindered or promoted by complex interactions between environmental and personal factors. [Box: see text].

Concepts: Reciprocity, Reciprocal, Reference, Searching, Review, Search engine optimization, Philosophy of language, Semantics


Purpose: There is a need to identify effective interventions to promote walking capacity in seniors. This study compares nordic walking (NW) and usual overground walking (OW) and estimates the relative efficacy in improving walking capacity (endurance and gait speed) of the elderly. Method: Single blind, site-stratified, randomized, pilot trial designed to estimate the amount of change with NW and OW. Main outcomes were distance walked measured by 6-min walk test (6MWT) and comfortable gait speed measured by 5-meter walk test (5MWT). Explanatory variables were age, sex, number of comorbidities, walking aids, balance, pain, and leg function. Results: NW and OW participants improved, respectively, 45 and 41 m on 6MWT and increased their gait speed by 0.14 and 0.07 m/s, respectively. NW effect sizes were moderate for 6MWT (ES = 0.53) and large for gait speed (effect size (ES) = 0.68). OW demonstrated moderate effect size for 6MWT (ES = 0.53) but a small one for gait speed (ES = 0.33). Relative efficacy, which was obtained from the ratio of NW and OW effects' sizes, was 1 for 6MWT and 2.06 for gait speed. Conclusions: NW is 106% more effective in improving gait speed among elderly than OW. [Box: see text].

Concepts: Exercise, Statistical power, Odds ratio, Statistical significance, Hiking, Effectiveness, Nordic walking, Walking


The objectives were to identify work-related stress, and to analyse whether or not work-related stress served to predict sick-leave in a population of employed women who saw a doctor due to musculoskeletal or mental disorder at primary health care centres.

Concepts: Illness, Healthcare, Medicine, Occupational health psychology, Medical ethics, Health care, Sociology, Mental disorder


Abstract Objective: The study’s purpose was to identify and synthesize research evidence regarding the effect of the environment on community participation of children with disabilities. Methods: A scoping review of peer-reviewed studies published from 1990 to 2011 was performed. Two independent reviewers selected studies based on a systematic procedure. Inclusion criteria for studies were: participants with a disability, aged 5-21 years, whose environment was examined in relation to participation in out-of-school activities. Data were organized and synthesized based on environmental domains within the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF): Natural Environment/Products and Technology; Support and Relationships; Attitudes; and Services, Systems and Policies. Results: Searching identified 1232 articles and 31 met the inclusion criteria. Each domain of the environment within the ICF influenced participation as a facilitator and/or barrier. The most common facilitators involved social support of family and friends and geographic location. The most common barriers included attitudes, physical environment, transportation, policies and the lack of support from staff and service providers. Conclusions: Knowledge derived from this review can assist practitioners in addressing the specific environmental domains that influence children’s participation. Such awareness can also foster new research questions and assist policy makers in identifying the factors influencing participation. Implications for Rehabilitation All domains of the environment, suggested by the ICF, have an influence on children’s participation. Evidence regarding the effect of the environment on participation is focused primarily on children with physical disabilities; more studies are needed involving various health conditions and age groups. Practitioners and decision-makers can focus attention on specific aspects of the environment, e.g. attitudinal challenges and social support, in order to foster inclusion and participation-based communities.

Concepts: Ecology, Policy, Environmentalism, Social model of disability, Natural environment, Environment, Disability


Abstract Purpose: The aim of this systematic review was to determine the efficacy of thoracic spine manipulation (TSM) in reducing pain and disability in patients diagnosed with non-specific neck pain. Methods: An extensive literature search of PubMed, The Cochrane Library, CINAHL and EMBASE was conducted in February 2012. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or controlled clinical trials evaluating the effect of TSM in patients aged 18 to 65 years with non-specific neck pain were eligible. Methodological quality of the studies was assessed according to the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale (PEDro). Qualitative analyses were conducted by means of the best evidence synthesis of van Peppen et al. Results: The methodological quality of the 10 included RCTs (677 patients) varied between four and eight points. Eight studies reported significant reduction in pain and/or disability by TSM. Overall, according to the best evidence synthesis, there is insufficient evidence that TSM is more effective than control interventions in reducing pain and disability in patients with non-specific neck pain. Conclusions: TSM has a therapeutic benefit to some patients with neck pain, when compared to the effect of interventions such as electrotherapy/thermal programme, infrared radiation therapy, spinal mobilization and exercises. However, in comparison to cervical spine manipulation, no evidence is found that TSM is more effective in reducing pain and disability. Implications for Rehabilitation TSM is often used in the treatment of non-specific neck pain, which is a major health problem in the Western society. There is insufficient evidence that TSM is more effective in reducing pain and disability than control treatments in patients with non-specific neck pain. Despite the insufficient evidence that TSM is more effective than control treatments, TSM has a therapeutic benefit to some patients with neck pain. Therefore, TSM alone or in combination with other interventions is a suitable intervention to use in the treatment of non-specific neck pain.

Concepts: Vertebral column, Effectiveness, Thoracic vertebrae, Systematic review, Efficacy, Evidence-based medicine, Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial


Purpose: The purpose of this comprehensive literature review it to explore cross-cultural issues in occupational rehabilitation and work disability prevention. Method: A literature review on cross-cultural issues was performed in medicine, health sciences, and social sciences databases (PubMed, Ingenta, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, Ergonomics Abstract, Google Scholar, OSH Update and the Quebec Workers' Compensation Board data base). A total of 27 documents published until 2010 in English or French were selected and analyzed. Results: Cross-cultural issues in occupational rehabilitation show that representations of pain, communication and therapist-patient relationship and intercultural competence could be presented as the major topics covered in the selected literature. As for the general topic of immigrant workers and OSH, barriers were identified revealing personal, relational, contextual and structural levels that put immigrant and minority workers in situation of vulnerability (ex. linguistic and cultural barriers, lack of knowledge of the system, precarious work or exposition to higher risk hazards, etc.). Cultural issues in occupational rehabilitation put less attention to work-related contextual factors but emphasized on attitude and pain behaviours, perceptions of illness and appropriate treatment, therapist-patient relationship and cultural competences among OT professionals. Conclusions: The growth of immigration in countries such as Canada poses a real challenge to the delivery of health care and rehabilitation services. Despite growing concerns in providing culturally appropriate heath cares, intervention models, tools and training tools are still lacking in occupational rehabilitation and disability management. Nevertheless, cultural competence seems to be a promising concept to be implemented in work rehabilitation and disability management. [Box: see text].

Concepts: Medicine, Intercultural competence, Health, Linguistics, Culture, Occupational safety and health, Health care, Cross-cultural communication


Abstract Objective: To consider the feasibility of setting up a relaxation group to treat symptoms of post stroke anxiety in an in-patient post-acute setting; and to explore the effectiveness of relaxation training in reducing self-reported tension. Method: A relaxation group protocol was developed in consultation with a multidisciplinary team and a user group. Over a period of 24 months, 55 stroke patients attended group autogenic relaxation training on a rehabilitation ward. Attendance ranged between one and eleven sessions. Self-reported tension was assessed pre and post relaxation training using the Tension Rating Circles (TRCs). Results: The TRCs identified a significant reduction in self-reported tension from pre to post training, irrespective of the number of sessions attended; z = -3.656, p < 0.001, r = -0.67, for those who attended multiple sessions, z = -2.758, p < 0.01, r = -0.6 for those who attended a single session. Discussion: The routine use of relaxation techniques in treating anxiety in patients undergoing post-stroke rehabilitation shows potential. Self-reported tension decreased after attendance at relaxation training. The TRCs proved acceptable to group members, but should be validated against standard anxiety measures. Further exploration of the application of relaxation techniques in clinical practice is desirable. Implications for Rehabilitation Anxiety is prevalent after stroke and likely affects rehabilitation outcomes. Relaxation training is a well proven treatment for anxiety in the non-stroke population. A significant within session reduction in tension, a hallmark symptom of anxiety, was evidenced via group relaxation training delivered in a post-acute, in-patient stroke unit setting. Relaxation training a shows promise as a treatment for anxiety after stroke.

Concepts: Stress management, Relaxation technique, Autogenic training


Abstract Purpose: To compare the effects of botulinum toxin injection with and without needle electromyographic guidance for the treatment of spasticity. Method: A randomized controlled study was conducted in a tertiary university hospital. Twenty-seven adult hemiplegic patients with spasticity due to brain or spinal cord damage were included. Spastic muscles were injected with botulinum toxin with or without EMG guidance. The modified Ashworth scale and modified Barthel index in each patient pre- and post-injection were documented. Results: In group A, which consisted of 15 patients (55.55%), the injection was administered with needle electromyographic guidance, while in 12 patients (44.44%) of group B without electromyographic guidance with the use of anatomic landmarks only. The follow-up period was 3 months. At 3 weeks post-injection, spasticity was decreased (p < 0.05) in all patients and the mean (SD) reduction of spasticity was higher (p < 0.05) in group A (1.67 (0.5)) than group B (1.25 (0.46)). Similarly, the mean (SD) functional modified Barthel index improved statistically significantly (p < 0.001) post-injection (45.37 (8.43)) than pre-injection (54.07 (9.610), especially in group A (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The effectiveness of intramuscular botulinum toxin injection for the treatment of spasticity in hemiplegic patients is superior when performed with needle electromyographic guidance than without electromyography. Implications for Rehabilitation It is recommended that botulinum toxin muscle injections of hemiplegic limbs be performed with EMG guidance More spasticity reduction and functional improvement at 3 months post-injection was observed in patients injected with botulinum toxin by the use of combined EMG guidance and anatomic landmarks EMG guidance might also save amount of botulinum toxin due to less spasticity observed during injection than when injection is performed with anatomic landmarks only.

Concepts: Barthel scale, Hospital, Microbial toxins, Botulinum toxin, Spasticity, Electromyography, Muscle, Randomized controlled trial


Abstract Purpose: Social service programmes that offer consumer choices are intended to guide service efficiency and customer satisfaction. However, little is known about how social service consumers actually make choices and how providers deliver such services. This article details the practical implementation of consumer choice in a Canadian workers' compensation vocational retraining programme. Method: Discourse analysis was conducted of in-depth interviews and focus groups with 71 injured workers and service providers, who discussed their direct experience of a vocational retraining system. Data also included procedural, policy and administrative documents. Results: Consumer choice included workers being offered choices about some service aspects, but not being able to exercise meaningful discretion. Programme cost objectives and restrictive rules and bureaucracy skewed the guidance provided to workers by service providers. If workers did not make the “right” choices, then the service providers were required to make choices for them. This upset workers and created tension for service providers. Conclusions: The ideal of consumer choice in a social service programme was difficult to enact, both for workers and service providers. Processes to increase quality of guidance to social service consumers and to create a systematic feedback look between system designers and consumers are recommended. Implications for Rehabilitation Consumer choice is an increasingly popular concept in social service systems. Vocational case managers can have their own administrative needs and tensions, which do not always align with the client’s choices. Rehabilitation programmes need to have processes for considering what choices are important to clients and the resources to support them.

Concepts: Consumer theory, Business, Preference, Philosophy of life, Sociology, Service system