Occupational Therapy Assessment of Adult Brain Function

  • Margo B. Holm
  • Joan C. Rogers
Chapter
Part of the Human Brain Function book series (HBFA)

Abstract

Historically, occupational therapists have established assessment expertise in the direct observation of their patients’ functional performance of the everyday tasks that define and bring meaning to their lives (Fisher & Short-DeGraff, 1993; Guralnik, Branch, Cummings, & Curb, 1989; Trombly, 1993). Patients are usually referred to occupational therapy primarily because of problems in everyday task performance. The unique contribution of occupational therapy, as a profession, in the study of brain function is at the level of functional task performance, namely, the patient-task-context transaction. In considering function at this level, we bring cognizance of the influence of the factors within the patient (motor, sensory, cognitive, and psychosocial skills and impairments) during the patient’s transaction with specific tasks and task contexts. Using a task analysis approach (Faletti, 1984; Fisher & Short-DeGraff, 1993), we also contribute data to the patient and the team about the abilities and behaviors required of a task performer for adequate and safe task performance (task demands). Task analysis also helps us identify the inherent properties and procedures, equipment, and materials involved in critical and representative functional tasks (e.g., dressing, meal preparation, driving) and subtasks (e.g., putting on and taking off a pair of slacks, turning the stovetop burners on and off, and manipulation of adapted steering mechanisms) that the patient wants or needs to perform. In addition, occupational therapists’ professional education enables them to appraise a task context (clinic or naturalistic setting) for its potential to support a patient’s abilities, provide appropriate levels of stimulation, and promote safe task performance. Therefore, task performance is pivotal to all levels of occupational therapy functional assessment and intervention (Holm & Rogers, 1989) and this focus is the occupational therapy profession’s particular contribution to the study of brain function.

Keywords

Task Performance Occupational Therapist Interrater Reliability Occupational Therapy Functional Capacity Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margo B. Holm
    • 1
  • Joan C. Rogers
    • 2
  1. 1.Occupational Therapy ProgramCollege MisericordiaDallasUSA
  2. 2.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicPittsburghUSA

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