Upper limb mobility and personal management of stroke in patients attending occupational therapy at a tertiary hospital in Gauteng

Zukiswa Msengana, Patrica de Witt, Antonette Owen, Denise Franzsen


Introduction: This study described the outcomes for upper limb motor function after stroke and personal management of patients
attending occupational therapy at a tertiary hospital in Gauteng, up to two months’ post-discharge.
Methodology: A quantitative, descriptive correlation design used assessments of upper limb motor function and independence in
personal management to collect the data. Forty-five participants received routine rehabilitation including occupational therapy at the
hospital. The same measurements were administered on discharge and during out-patient follow up at one and two months.
Results: Results indicated that of 45 participants only 33 were available for reassessment at discharge. These participants had
significant improvement in upper limb motor function and personal management. At discharge 48% of participants had >80% recovery
of upper limb function and 59% had achieved independence or modified independence in personal management. The correlation between
upper limb function and 73% personal management at discharge was strong, indicating an association between return of upper limb
function and independence in personal management. By two months post discharge the correlation between the variables was low, as
while only 20% of the 15 participants who returned for therapy at month 2 were dependent for personal management and over 50%
presented with no or poor upper limb function.
Discussion and Conclusion: Rehabilitation including occupational therapy intervention contributed to participant’s improved
performance in personal management tasks, even when upper limb motor function recovery was suboptimal. The intervention for
personal management and compensatory techniques taught to participants resulted in independent or modified independence two
months after discharge.

Key words: stroke; upper limb motor recovery; personal management

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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