Transfer of training effects in stroke patients with apraxia: An exploratory study

C. Geusgens*, C.M. van Heugten, M. Donkervoort, E. van den Ende, J. Jolles, W.J.A. van Heuvel

*Corresponding author for this work

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The goal of the present study was to examine the transfer of the effects of cognitive strategy training for stroke patients with apraxia from trained to non-trained tasks. In strategy training, the occurrence of transfer is expected as the training programme is aimed, not at relearning specific tasks, but at teaching patients new ways to handle the problems resulting from the impairment. Exploratory analyses were conducted on data previously collected in a randomised controlled trial on the efficacy of the strategy training. A total of 113 left hemisphere stroke patients were randomly assigned to a strategy training group and a group receiving occupational therapy as usual. Assessment of apraxia, motor functioning and activities of daily living (ADL) took place at baseline, after an eight-week treatment period, and five months after baseline. The primary outcome measure consisted of standardised ADL observations of trained and non-trained tasks. The analyses showed that in both treatment groups, the scores on the ADL observations for non-trained tasks improved significantly after eight weeks of training as compared with the baseline score. Change scores of non-trained activities were larger in the strategy training group as compared with the usual treatment group. By using previously collected data we are able to illustrate the potential transfer of treatment effects in a large sample of stroke patients. We found indications for the occurrence of transfer, although the study was not originally designed for the purpose of evaluating transfer. Therefore these results are worth exploring more profoundly. We will further investigate our preliminary conclusions in a new prospective study which is specifically designed to examine the transfer of training effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-229
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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