Systematic review of leisure therapy and its effectiveness in managing functional outcomes in stroke rehabilitation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 2014, 21 (1), pp. 40 - 51
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8-30-2017_Systematic.pdfPublished Version508.67 kB
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Background: Evidence suggests that the incorporation of leisure activities in adult stroke rehabilitation can contribute to improved physical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes. However, differences in study design and treatment delivery may affect these findings. Furthermore, the magnitude of therapeutic change associated with leisure therapy is unclear, with few quantitative reviews available. Objective: To synthesize and evaluate the empirical evidence examining leisure therapy in stroke rehabilitation. Methods: Eight independent studies (N = 615 participants) were identified from a comprehensive database search. Study quality was evaluated using the Oxford Levels of Evidence. Pre- and posttreatment data for participants who received leisure therapy, in comparison with peers who received standard care or no treatment, were evaluated by calculating Cohen's d effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals. Results: No studies met the criteria for the highest level of methodological rigor, although all used randomization procedures. Leisure therapy contributed to significant short-term improvements in psychological outcomes, namely quality of life and mood (d range, 2.10 to 0.54), in addition to leisure-specific outcomes, including increased participation in and satisfaction with leisure activities (d range, 0.81 to 1.23). Longer term effects of treatment could not be determined, with one study providing data and reporting nonsignificant effects (d range, -0.07 to 0.17). Conclusions: There is some evidence that leisure therapy offers an opportunity to enhance short-term treatment gains in community-based stroke rehabilitation. Further controlled research is needed to establish its longer term effects and assist the development of evidence-based guidelines for this treatment.
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