Task-specific practice of dressing tasks in a hospital setting improved dressing performance post-stroke: A feasibility study


  • Lauren Christie BAppSc (OT); Senior Occupational Therapist Aged Care and Rehabilitation. Rebecca Bedford BAppSc (OT); Senior Occupational Therapist Clinical Educator Annie McCluskey PhD, MA, DipCOT; Senior Lecturer.

Dr Annie McCluskey, Discipline of Occupational Therapy and Community-Based Health Care Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia. Email: annie.mccluskey@sydney.edu.au


Background:  Practise of personal activities of daily living, including dressing improves outcomes for people living at home after a stroke. Less is known about dressing outcomes for hospital inpatients.

Aim:  This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and outcomes of a group-based, task-specific dressing retraining programme for inpatients post-stroke.

Methods:  A pre-post single group study design was used. Retrospective data were collected for stroke inpatients admitted to one hospital between 2007 and 2009. Participants attended a one-hour dressing group twice weekly during admission, supervised by occupational therapists. Each participant had one or more dressing goals. Scores on the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) upper and lower body dressing items were compared at baseline and at discharge.

Results:  Of 119 participants who received group-based training, a mean improvement was found of 2.2 FIM points (95% CI 1.9–2.5, = 0.0001) for upper body dressing (range 0–7), 2.7 FIM points (95% CI 2.3–3.1, = 0.0001) for lower body dressing (range 0–7) and 5.2 FIM points (95% CI 4.5–6.0, = 0.0001) for total dressing scores (range 0–14). Of 242 goals recorded, 48% focussed on shirt/upper body dressing, 35% on pants/shorts, 11% on socks and shoes and 13% involved buttons/fastenings.

Conclusions:  Task-specific practice of dressing tasks in a group setting was feasible and made clinically significant differences to dressing performance during inpatient rehabilitation. More rigorous methods of investigation are required in future to minimise selection, measurement and intervention biases.