Awareness of disabilities in stroke rehabilitation - A clinical trial

A. Hartman-Maer, N. Soroker, S. D. Oman, N. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the frequency of unawareness of disabilities after stroke during the rehabilitation stage, the relationship of unawareness with neuroanatomical variables, and the impact of unawareness on functional outcomes. Method: Sixty consecutive patients (36 with right, 24 with left hemisphere damage) admitted to rehabilitation hospital with a first, single, unilateral stroke were evaluated at admission, discharge and at 1-year post onset of stroke. Unawareness of disabilities was operationally defined as the discrepancy between therapist and patient's rating on the motor scale of the functional independence measure (FIM). Functional outcomes included FIM, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) scale, activity card sort (ACS) and safety rating scale. Results: Unawareness of disabilities was found in 44/60 patients at admission and 24/57 at discharge. There was no significant difference between the hemisphere groups in the frequency of unawareness at both times. Discharge unawareness in the right hemisphere group was significantly associated with lesions in the frontal and temporal lobes, and with lesion size. Unawareness in the left hemisphere damaged group was not associated with any neuroanatomical variables. A negative impact of unawareness at admission on functional outcomes-was not found, but it was found that unawareness at discharge was a negative predictor of activity level (ACS score) at follow up, after controlling for the severity of initial disability level. Conclusions: Unawareness of disabilities is a significant issue in stroke rehabilitation. Unawareness that persists to discharge from rehabilitation correlates with neuroanatomical variables in right hemisphere damaged patients, and is a negative predictor for some rehabilitation outcomes at follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2003


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