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Journal: The American journal of occupational therapy : official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association


OBJECTIVE. To determine how safe-patient-handling (SPH) equipment is used in rehabilitation and how it affects therapists, patients, and therapy practice. METHOD. We used a qualitative, instrumental case study design. Thirty-five occupational and physical therapist practitioners from three facilities participated in the study. RESULTS. Therapists reported a broad range of applications for equipment (e.g., functional mobility and neuromusculoskeletal function). They reported that SPH equipment increased treatment options for therapists and increased participation options for patients, although equipment limitations exist. Three themes emerged from the analysis: choice, potential, and safety. CONCLUSION. SPH equipment has therapeutic applications in rehabilitation, especially for medically complex or bariatric patients. Therapists in this study engaged in a highly individualized, complex process of decision making when selecting and using SPH devices in rehabilitation. More research to refine and test therapeutic uses is necessary.

Concepts: Qualitative research, Dative case, Decision making software, Decision theory, Case study, Medicine, Scientific method, Therapy


PURPOSE. To understand the medication routines used by older adults taking four or more medications daily. METHOD. One hundred forty-nine community-dwelling older adults were interviewed about the individual routines, storage locations, equipment, and assistance that enabled their adherence to a medication regimen. A subsample of 84 older adults was observed completing one medication routine in their home environments. FINDINGS. Medication habits were embedded in mealtime, wake-up, and sleep routines for 91% of the sample. Participants developed unique, individualized behaviors for taking medications that were choreographed within broader daily routines. The primary locations for storing medications were the kitchen and bathroom. Equipment used to promote adherence was primarily pillboxes or self-made adaptations. More than 50% of the entire sample required some type of assistance related to medication adherence. IMPLICATIONS. Findings support the role of occupational therapists in collaborating with clients to develop individualized medication routines to promote medication adherence.

Concepts: Sampling, Occupational therapy, Prescription drug, Pharmaceutical drug, Pharmacology, Medicine, Subroutine


This single-case, mixed-method study explored the feasibility of self-administered, home-based SMART (sensorimotor active rehabilitation training) Arm training for a 57-yr-old man with severe upper-limb disability after a right frontoparietal hemorrhagic stroke 9 mo earlier. Over 4 wk of self-administered, home-based SMART Arm training, the participant completed 2,100 repetitions unassisted. His wife provided support for equipment set-up and training progressions. Clinically meaningful improvements in arm impairment (strength), activity (arm and hand tasks), and participation (use of arm in everyday tasks) occurred after training (at 4 wk) and at follow-up (at 16 wk). Areas for refinement of SMART Arm training derived from thematic analysis of the participant’s and researchers' journals focused on enabling independence, ensuring home and user friendliness, maintaining the motivation to persevere, progressing toward everyday tasks, and integrating practice into daily routine. These findings suggest that further investigation of self-administered, home-based SMART Arm training is warranted for people with stroke who have severe upper-limb disability.

Concepts: Activity, Stroke, Participation, Training


Research regarding sensory processing and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is limited. This study aimed to compare sensory processing patterns of groups of higher education students with ADHD or ASD and to explore the implications of these disorders for their college life.

Concepts: Attention, Educational psychology, Hyperactivity, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder


The purpose of this study was to estimate the effect of Cognitive Orientation to Daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) compared with usual occupational therapy on upper-extremity movement, cognitive flexibility, and stroke impact in people less than 3 mo after stroke. An exploratory, single-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted with people referred to outpatient occupational therapy services at two rehabilitation centers. Arm movement was measured with the Action Research Arm Test, cognitive flexibility with the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System Trail Making subtest, and stroke impact with subscales of the Stroke Impact Scale. A total of 35 participants were randomized, and 26 completed the intervention. CO-OP demonstrated measurable effects over usual care on all measures. These data provide early support for the use of CO-OP to improve performance and remediate cognitive and arm movement impairments after stroke over usual care; however, future study is warranted to confirm the effects observed in this trial.

Concepts: Test method, Occupational therapy, Cognitive science, Affect, Cognition, Effectiveness, Randomized controlled trial, Effect


Some people without independent mobility are candidates for powered mobility but are unable to use a traditional power wheelchair joystick. This proof-of-concept study tested and further developed an innovative method of driving power wheelchairs for people whose impairments prevent them from operating commercial wheelchair controls. Our concept, Self-referenced Personal Orthotic Omni-purpose Control Interface (SPOOCI), is distinguished by referencing the control sensor not to the wheelchair frame but instead to the adjacent proximal lower-extremity segment via a custom-formed orthosis. Using a descriptive case-series design, we compared the pre-post functional power wheelchair driving skill data of 4 participants, measured by the Power Mobility Program, using descriptive analyses. The intervention consisted of standard-care power wheelchair training during 12 outpatient occupational or physical therapy sessions. All 4 participants who completed the 12-wk intervention improved their functional power wheelchair driving skills using SPOOCI, but only 3 were deemed safe to continue with power wheelchair driving.

Concepts: Power, Programming language, Mobility scooter, Skill, Mobility device, Disability, Wheelchairs, Wheelchair


The Functional Loewenstein Occupational Therapy Cognitive Assessment (FLOTCA) was developed to assess integrative higher cognitive abilities in people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The FLOTCA measures performance on three tasks: navigating on a map, organizing a toolbox, and planning a daily schedule. This study assessed the psychometric properties of the FLOTCA with a sample of 25 participants with TBI ages 18-49 and 25 matched healthy participants. The FLOTCA showed high interrater reliability (intraclass correlation = .996) and internal consistency reliability for the total score (α = .82). Construct validity was supported for the total score, t (48) = -5.48, d = 1.52, and the separate tasks. Moderate ecological validity was obtained with the combined FIM™ and Functional Assessment Measure, r (19) = .44, p < .05. The results indicate that the FLOTCA can be used to assess higher cognitive abilities in functioning and can serve as the basis for intervention planning.

Concepts: Brain, Thought, Reliability, Assessment, Educational psychology, Validity, Traumatic brain injury, Psychometrics


Limited information is available regarding use of the Frazier free water protocol (FWP) with hospitalized patients who have dysphagia and have survived a critical illness with compromised pulmonary status. This pilot study used a two-group nonequivalent comparison group design to evaluate the FWP in 15 adults admitted to a respiratory care unit (RCU) with dysphagia concerns. Inclusion criteria included recommendation for a modified diet with thickened liquids by a dysphagia therapist and ability to follow the specific free water guidelines. The 15 control participants were chosen from a retrospective chart review of consecutive RCU admissions that met the same inclusion criteria. The intervention group for whom the free water guidelines were implemented did not differ significantly from the control group in rate of development of aspiration pneumonia, χ²(30) = .01, p = 1.00.

Concepts: Controlling for a variable, Scientific control, Compromise, Retrospective, Sociology, Dysphagia, Aspiration pneumonia, Pneumonia


OBJECTIVE. We determined whether listening to excerpts of classical music ameliorates unilateral neglect (UN) in stroke patients. METHOD. In this within-subject study, we recruited and separately tested 16 UN patients with a right-hemisphere stroke under three conditions within 1 wk. In each condition, participants were asked to complete three subtests of the Behavioral Inattention Test while listening to classical music, white noise, or nothing. All conditions and the presentation of the tests were counterbalanced across participants. Visual analog scales were used to provide self-reported ratings of arousal and mood. RESULTS. Participants generally had the highest scores under the classical music condition and the lowest scores under the silence condition. In addition, most participants rated their arousal as highest after listening to classical music. CONCLUSION. Listening to classical music may improve visual attention in stroke patients with UN. Future research with larger study populations is necessary to validate these findings.

Concepts: Musical notation, Sound, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Opera, Mozart effect, Hemispatial neglect, Presentation of Mary, Stroke


People with musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder commonly experience pain, decreased strength, and restricted range of motion (ROM) that limit participation in meaningful occupational activities. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the current evidence for interventions within the occupational therapy scope of practice that address pain reduction and increase participation in functional activities. Seventy-six studies were reviewed for this study-67 of Level I evidence, 7 of Level II evidence, and 2 of Level III evidence. Strong evidence was found that ROM, strengthening exercises, and joint mobilizations can improve function and decrease pain. The evidence to support physical modalities is moderate to mixed, depending on the shoulder disorder. Occupational therapy practitioners can use this evidence to guide daily clinical decision making.

Concepts: Decision making, Physical exercise, Strength training, Stretching, Function, Medicine