Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 45 Number 7, 2008
   Pages 1019 — 1026

Abstract - Prevention of secondary stroke in VA: Role of occupational therapists and physical therapists

Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR;1-3* Lisa Butterbaugh, OT;2 Courtney Egolf, OT;2 Virginia Richards, OT;2 Linda Williams, MD1,3-4

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Stroke Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, Center of Excellence on Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices, Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN; 2Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, Indianapolis, IN; 3Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Indianapolis, IN; 4Regenstrief Institute, Inc, Indianapolis, IN

Abstract — Occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs) have the opportunity and obligation to advocate secondary stroke prevention via health promotion (HP) behaviors. This prospective survey of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) OTs and PTs determined whether they know about VA stroke rehabilitation guidelines and whether they integrate secondary stroke prevention into poststroke rehabilitation care. Questions revolved around knowledge of VA guidelines, inclusion of stroke risk-factor modification, and HP education to patients. Thirty-four surveys (45%) were returned from six facilities. Participants included 12 OTs and 22 PTs. Half (53%) of the therapists were aware of the VA guidelines and nearly half (48%) provided HP activities to patients; PTs were significantly more likely to do so than OTs (p = 0.02). Half of the queried therapists were unaware of the VA guidelines; increasing therapists' education about the guidelines and the necessity of HP and secondary stroke prevention may reduce veterans' risk of a second stroke. Because many stroke risk factors are modifiable and stroke survivors spend a great deal of time with the rehabilitation therapist, OTs and PTs can and should provide such education to reduce the risk of a second stroke.

Key words: health behaviors, health promotion, occupational therapists, physical therapists, prevention, rehabilitation, secondary stroke prevention, stroke, stroke risk factors, VA.


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