The efficacy of a task model approach to ADL rehabilitation in stroke apraxia and action disorganisation syndrome: a randomised controlled trial

Jo Howe, Winnie Chua, Emily Sumner, Bogna Drozdowska, Rosanna Laverick, Rachel L. Bevins, Emilie Jean-baptiste, Martin Russell, Pia Rotshtein, Alan M. Wing

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Abstract

Background
Apraxia and action disorganization syndrome (AADS) after stroke can disrupt activities of daily living (ADL). Occupational therapy has been effective in improving ADL performance, however, inclusion of multiple tasks means it is unclear which therapy elements contribute to improvement. We evaluated the efficacy of a task model approach to ADL rehabilitation, comparing training in making a cup of tea with a stepping training control condition.

Methods
Of the 29 stroke survivors with AADS who participated in this cross-over randomized controlled feasibility trial, 25 were included in analysis [44% females; mean(SD) age = 71.1(7.8) years; years post-stroke = 4.6(3.3)]. Participants attended five 1-hour weekly tea making training sessions in which progress was monitored and feedback given using a computer-based system which implemented a Markov Decision Process (MDP) task model. In a control condition, participants received five 1-hour weekly stepping sessions.

Results
Compared to stepping training, tea making training reduced errors across 4 different tea types. The time taken to make a cup of tea was reduced so the improvement in accuracy was not due to a speed-accuracy trade-off. No improvement linked to tea making training was evident in a complex tea preparation task (making two different cups of tea simultaneously), indicating a lack of generalisation in the training.

Conclusions
The clearly specified but flexible training protocol, together with information on the distribution of errors, provide pointers for further refinement of task model approaches to ADL rehabilitation. It is recommended that the approach be tested under errorless learning conditions with more impaired patients in future research.

Trial registration
Retrospectively registered at ClinicalTrials.gov on 5th August 2019 [NCT04044911] https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04044911?term=Cogwatch&rank=1
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0264678
JournalPLOS One
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2022

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