Research Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 3, P115-121, May 2005

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Client-Centered Occupational Therapy Using Constraint-Induced Therapy

      Constraint-induced therapy (CIT) is a rehabilitation intervention designed to promote increased use of a weak or paralyzed arm, most commonly in patients who sustained a stroke. CIT involves constraining the unaffected arm in a sling or mitt, forcing the use of the weaker or paralyzed arm in daily activities. The aim of this study was to determine whether immobilizing the uninvolved arm of persons who experienced a stroke while participating in meaningful activities of daily living would increase their satisfaction and performance in life roles. Nine clients participated in a pilot study consisting of 2 weeks of individualized occupation-based CIT. This pilot study combined therapy in the clinic with therapy in the individual’s home environment and incorporated meaningful daily activities chosen by the client into treatment. Results revealed a significant change in reported satisfaction and performance postintervention; however, a decline in satisfaction at follow-up despite continued motor improvement. Even though voluntary movements demonstrated improvement, participants were not satisfied with their performance in functional goal-related activities in their natural environment. Motor improvement can be repeated; however, at follow-up, participants were not satisfied with the improvement in meaningful activities that they identified. This may have to do with participants wanting or expecting their affected upper extremity to function better despite the deficits. It is also possible that participants expected their function to improve at the rate that it did during treatment. Further investigation using meaningful activity is needed to identify integration of the affected upper extremity into individuals’ own environments and determine how it affects overall life roles and satisfaction over time.

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