This paper is a report of a review conducted to provide an overview of the
evidence in the literature on task-oriented training of stroke survivors and its relevance
in daily nursing practice.
Background: Stroke is the second leading cause of death and one of the leading
causes of adult disability in the Western world. The use of neurodevelopmental
treatment in the daily nursing care of stroke survivors does not improve clinical
outcomes. Nurses are therefore exploring other forms of rehabilitation intervention,
including task-oriented rehabilitation. Despite the growing number of studies
showing evidence on task-oriented interventions, recommendations for daily nursing
practice are lacking.
A range of databases was searched to identify papers addressing taskoriented
training in stroke rehabilitation, including Medline, CINAHL, Embase and
the Cochrane Library of systematic reviews. Papers published in English between
January 1996 and September 2007 were included. There were 42 papers in the final
dataset, including nine systematic reviews.
Review methods: The selected randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews
were assessed for quality. Important characteristics and outcomes were extracted
Results: Studies of task-related training showed benefits for functional outcome
compared with traditional therapies. Active use of task-oriented training with stroke
survivors will lead to improvements in functional outcomes and overall healthrelated
quality of life.
Conclusion. Generally, task-oriented rehabilitation proved to be more effective.
Many interventions are feasible for nurses and can be performed in a ward or at
home. Nurses can and should play an important role in creating opportunities to
practise meaningful functional tasks outside of regular therapy sessions.