Occupational therapy intervention for hemiplegic shoulder pain in adults’ post-stroke: A Zimbabwean perspective

Lee-Ann Juliana Jacobs-Nzuzi Khuabi, Susan de Klerk, Mary Tapfuma


Background: Stroke is a leading cause of disability in Zimbabwe. Hemiplegic shoulder pain (HSP), a secondary complication of stroke, impedes the functional recovery of the upper limb and occupational engagement. Occupational therapy intervention, comprising assessment and treatment, seeks to promote health and well-being through facilitating improvement in occupational engagement. There is a lack of documented evidence on occupational therapy intervention practices (i.e., assessment and treatment) of HSP in the context of Harare, Zimbabwe. To allow for an increased understanding of HSP management, this study explored occupational therapists’ assessment and treatment practices of post-stroke HSP in Harare, Zimbabwe.  

Method: This explorative study included six experienced occupational therapists from three public hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe. Data were collected through semi–structured interviews and analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: Data analysis revealed three themes, i.e., assessment of post-stroke HSP is all encompassing; key components of post-stroke HSP treatment practice and challenges in occupational therapy practice of post-stroke HSP in Harare.

Conclusion: Occupational therapy intervention practice for post-stroke HSP in Harare includes an eclectic approach, with preventative practices as a key component of treatment. Intervention should strive to be occupation-based and holistic encompassing considerations of environmental factors and the indicators of HSP.

Keywords: Public health care, occupational therapy intervention, clinical practice, neurological upper limb conditions

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

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