Stroke patients are benefited by occupational therapy which helps them recover their ability to take care of themselves and keeping them independent longer, according to a new scientific review of the best available data.
Lead author of the study Dr. Lynn Legg of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland, said, "The most important finding is that occupational therapy works. Very few interventions have had such an impact."
AdvertisementLegg's group points out that more information is needed to answer questions such as which occupational therapy approaches are the most effective, how long therapy should be offered, and how often patients should have it.
According to researchers one third of all stroke patients may lose their ability to live independently, as noted by them in The Cochrane Library, a journal published by an international organization devoted to evaluating health care research. They add that although the benefits of rehabilitation after stroke clear the specific components of rehabilitation that facilitate recovery are less well understood.
Review of 10 studies was conducted by Legg and her team that included 1,348 subjects who had a stroke. These studies compared the effects of occupational therapy with usual care or no care.
The occupational therapy was especially focused on aiding patients regain the ability to perform their personal everyday functions needed for independent living and, in some cases, leisure and work-related skills.
The researchers found that patients who underwent occupational therapy were less likely to show deterioration in their abilities and better able to perform activities of daily living, like cooking and bathing. Qualified occupational therapists would deliver all these effective therapies at the patient's home.
The researchers therefore conclude, "What is clear from this review is that the debate should move from considering whether occupational therapy services are effective to determining what elements make them effective."