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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


DE KLERK, Susan; BUCHANAN, Helen  and  PRETORIUS, Blanche. Occupational therapy hand assessment practices: Cause for concern?. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2015, vol.45, n.2, pp.43-50. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: Assessment is critical for measuring improvement, or lack thereof, and demonstrating the outcome of intervention. In response to the lack of research in this area, this study aimed to determine the assessment practices of occupational therapists working with clients with hand conditions METHODS: A quantitative cross sectional survey design was used. A convenience sample of occupational therapists was recruited from five provinces. Respondents completed a questionnaire developed for the study that comprised demographic information, assessments used, frequency of use and factors influencing assessment choice. Data were analysed with Statistica version 11 RESULTS: Eighty-one respondents (n=114) completed questionnaires representing a 71% response rate. Goniometry (84.0%), manual muscle testing (76.5%) and testing for flexor tendon function (76.3%) were used most frequently. The most common reasons for not using assessments were lack of availability and unfamiliarity CONCLUSION: It is of concern that the assessment practices of participants in this study focussed primarily on the assessment of body function and structure with few therapists using activity and participation measures. This could seriously limit the evidence needed to verify the outcomes achieved through occupational therapy intervention in the treatment of hand conditions.

Keywords : hand assessment; occupational therapy; body structure and function; activity; participation.

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