Consequences of stroke : aspects of impairments, disabilities and life satisfaction : with special emphasis on perception and on occupational therapy

Sammanfattning: Perceptual and motor functions and self-care ability after stroke were assessed within two weeks (n:109; mean age 69±10) and 4-6 years (n:75;70±9) after admission to a non-intensive care stroke unit. Sixty-two of the long-term stroke survivors reported on their life satisfaction (7 items) as experienced (in retrospect) before the stroke and at the time of the investigation. Perceptual functions and actual levels of life satisfaction were registered in 60 clinically healthy subjects aged about 60 or about 80 years.Both early on and late after stroke the 16 items of perceptual function were clearly grouped into two factors, which neatly fitted an ecological perceptual concept. One factor characterized low-order and the other higher-order perception. Impairments of low-order perception occurred for about 10% of the patients, whether investigated early or late after stroke. No one among the reference populations had such impairments. Higher-order perceptual impairments prevailed in 60% early on and in 57% late after stroke and were often more pronounced than those occurring in the reference populations, among whom 35% of the 60 year olds and significantly more - 77% - of the 80 year olds had such impairments. Hence, perceptual impairments are common after stroke, but slight age-dependent reductions should be considered when higher-order perceptual function is assessed and treated after stroke.Together with motor function, which was impaired in 52% of the early and 36% of the late stroke samples, higher-order perceptual function and to a limited extent low-order perception could predict the level of self-care ability in 70% and 62% of the early and late samples, respectively.Whereas levels of global and of domain specific variables of life satisfaction were similar in the two reference populations, the stroke had lead to a reduction in life satisfaction for 61% of the long-term survivors. Reductions were particularly pronounced for global life satisfaction and for satisfaction with leisure and sexuality. Although significantly associated with motor impairment and self-care disability, these reductions could not be attributed only to impairments and disability.The findings are discussed with particular reference to assessment and treatment in occupational therapy.