Background and Purpose: This exploratory study focused on the assessment of stroke patients for musculoskeletal rehabilitation in the United Kingdom National Health Service. It was the first phase of research on developing telerehabilitation for the assessment of patients who have had a stroke. The assessment of stroke patients for musculoskeletal rehabilitation is currently performed at the therapist’s discretion using different outcome measures. When looking at the Department of Health’s “National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke”, it is stated that there are a variety of outcome measures, yet no particular one is recommended. It is specified that each rehabilitation sector should select its own methodologies. Aim: The aim of this exploratory study was to understand physiotherapists’ and occupational therapists’ perspectives of the strengths and weaknesses of current rehabilitative assessment of stroke patients in the UK National Health Service. Methods: This study had 2 parts, non-participant observation with 2 therapists and 3 patients, and 10 semi-structured interviews with 5 physiotherapists and 5 occupational therapists to identify current practice, problem areas, and what types of improvements could be made. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic coding. Results: Seven emergent themes were identified portraying how outcome measures are currently not being used in a standardized way within National Health Service hospitals. This means that the feedback provided to patients, therapists and healthcare commissioners is limited. Therapists are currently performing more informal assessments each time a patient begins therapy and concerns are shown with these methods of assessment, including subjectivity, standardization issues and time. Interviewed therapists were clear that they believed that change is required within this field. Conclusions: This study raises concerns about the methodologies used for the assessment of stroke patients for rehabilitative purposes in the United Kingdom National Health Service.
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