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Aust Occup Ther J. 2013 Oct;60(5):334-42. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12069. Epub 2013 Sep 1.

Cognitive assessment across the continuum of care: the importance of occupational performance-based assessment for individuals post-stroke and traumatic brain injury.

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Occupational Therapy Department, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Eastern Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



When working with individuals following stroke or traumatic brain injury, an important role of the occupational therapist is to assess the impact of cognitive impairment on their ability to engage in occupations and resume important life roles. The aim of this study was to survey therapists' reasons for selection of and challenges with using various cognitive assessment approaches, across the continuum of care, when working with individuals following stroke and traumatic brain injury.


A cross-sectional survey, completed via post or online, with responses from 209 Australian occupational therapists was conducted. Participants included clinicians working in acute, inpatient rehabilitation and community settings.


Occupational performance-based assessments were ranked as the most important assessment method, with 69% of participants reporting using these assessments for more than 75% of their clients with cognitive impairment. Participants identified the lack of quantitative data provided by these assessments as a frequent challenge. The identification of cognitive deficits was the highest ranked reason for using cognitive screens and batteries. Challenges identified with using cognitive screens and batteries included difficulty linking assessment results to occupational performance, and difficulty using results to generate intervention strategies. The majority of participants reported using a combined approach to assessment, and used screens and batteries to support findings of occupational performance-based assessments.


Targeted efforts to further incorporate standardised occupational performance-based methods into clinical practice, research, and ongoing professional development is required to enhance occupational therapy services when working with individuals with cognitive impairment.


assessment outcomes; brain injury; cognition

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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