Occupational therapy assessment of the upper limb : trends in South Africa

De Klerk, Susanna Magdalena (2014-04)

Thesis (MOccTher)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Introduction: This research was conducted to establish the assessment practices of occupational therapists working with clients with upper limb injuries and/or conditions. This was done to get an updated account of frequency and variation in the use of various assessment tools as well as reasons offered for infrequent use. Methodology: A quantitative cross-sectional survey design was used. A convenience sample of therapists attending courses was recruited for the study. A questionnaire was developed for the study and face and content validity established through pilot testing. The questionnaire consisted of three sections containing demographic information and questions about upper limb assessment practices. Descriptive statistics were calculated for numerical and categorical data to describe the demographic characteristics and to identify the measurement tools that were used most frequently. The Chi-Square test of associations was used to determine whether there were any associations between frequency of use and demographic factors. Results: Questionnaires were completed by 81 (71%) respondents. Twenty-two (27.2%) of the respondents had more than five years’ experience in the field of hand therapy while the remainder (n=52, 64.2%) had less than five years. The more experienced therapists worked in the private sector (n=49, 60.5%) with two (0.03%) experienced therapists being employed in the public sector. The diagnoses that were seen most commonly were nerve injuries (90.1%), fractures (88.8%) and tendon injuries (85.1%). Of the 81 respondents 15 (18.5%) held post graduate qualifications in the field of hand therapy. Goniometry (68 of 81, 84.0%), manual muscle testing (62 of 81, 76.5%) and testing for flexor digitorum profundus and superficialis function (61 of 81, 76.3%) were used most frequently. Performance tests were used infrequently or not at all. The most common reasons for non-use of performance tests were that they were not available in the practice setting or respondents were not familiar with them. Significant associations were found between frequency of using measurement tools and practice setting, years of experience and holding a post graduate qualification in the field of hand therapy. There was a significant association between working in the private sector and using a dynamometer (p < 0.001), and working in government settings and frequent use of the test for localisation (p = 0.021). Therapists with more than five years’ experience in the field of hand therapy were significantly more likely to use Semmes Weinstein monofilaments (p = 0.034) as were those holding a post graduate qualification in hand therapy (p <0.001). Conclusion: The results of this study have serious implications in terms of the upper limb assessment practices of occupational therapists, especially in the context of evidence-based practice which has become crucial not only for the credibility of the profession, but also for its survival. Information obtained through this research could aid to guide education and training at an undergraduate and post graduate level and assist to direct a research focus for hand therapy in the South African context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Inleiding: Hierdie navorsing is uitgevoer om die bepalingspraktyke van arbeidsterapeute wat werk met kliënte met boonste ledemaat beserings en/of toestande vas te stel om sodoende ‘n beeld te verkry van die frekwensie en variasie van die gebruik van bepalingsinstrumente. Redes aangebied vir ongereelde gebruik hiervan is ook ondersoek. Metode: 'n Kwantitatiewe deursnee-opname-ontwerp is gebruik. ’n Gerieflikheidssteekproef van terapeute wat kursusse bygewoon het, is gewerf vir die studie. ‘n Vraelys is ontwikkel vir die studie, en voorkoms- en inhoudsgeldigheid is bepaal deur ‘n loodstudie. Die vraelys het bestaan uit drie afdelings met demografiese inligting en vrae oor boonste ledemaat bepalingspraktyke. Beskrywende statistiek is bereken vir numeriese en kategoriese data ten einde die demografiese eienskappe te beskryf en die bepalingsmetodes wat die meeste gebruik is, te identifiseer. Die Chi-kwadraat toets is gebruik om te bepaal of daar enige assosiasies tussen die frekwensie van gebruik en demografiese faktore bestaan. Resultate: Vraelyste is deur 81 (71%) respondente voltooi. Twee-en-twintig (27,2%) van die respondente het meer as vyf jaar ondervinding in die veld van handterapie gehad, terwyl die res (n = 52, 64.2%) minder as vyf jaar gehad het. Die meer ervare terapeute het gewerk in die privaatsektor (n = 49, 60.5%) met twee (0,03%) ervare terapeute in diens van die staat. Senuweebeserings (90.1%), frakture (88,8%) en tendonbeserings (85.1%) was die meeste gesien. Van die 81 respondente het 15 (18,5%) ‘n nagraadse kwalifikasie in die veld van handterapie gehad. Goniometer (68 van 81, 84.0%), spiertoetsing (62 van 81, 76,5%) en die toetse vir fleksor digitorum profundus en superficialis funksie (61 van 81, 76,3%) is die meeste gebruik. Vaardigheidstoetse is selde of glad nie gebruik nie. Die mees algemene redes aangevoer vir die feit dat vaardigheidstoetse nie gebruik is nie, was dat dit óf nie beskikbaar is in die respondent se werksarea nie, óf dat respondente nie vertroud is met die toetse nie. Beduidende assosiasies is gevind tussen die frekwensie van die gebruik van bepalingsmetodes en werksarea, jare ervaring in handterapie en 'n nagraadse kwalifikasie in die veld van die handterapie. Daar was 'n beduidende assosiasie tussen terapeute werksaam in privaatpraktyk en die gebruik van 'n dinamometer (p < 0,001) en terapeute werksaam in die staat en gereelde gebruik van die lokalisasie toets (p = 0.021). Terapeute met meer as vyf jaar ondervinding, sowel as diegene met ’n nagraadse kwalifikasie in handterapie was beduidend meer geneig om Semmes Weinstein monofilaments te gebruik (p = 0,034 en p < 0,001 respektiewelik). Gevolgtrekking : Die bevindinge van hierdie studie het ernstige implikasies in terme van die arbeidsterapie bepalingspraktyke van die boonste ledemaat, veral in die konteks van bewys-gebaseerde praktykvoering (evidence based practice) wat noodsaaklik geword het nie net vir die geloofwaardigheid van die beroep nie, maar ook vir die oorlewing daarvan. Inligting wat verkry is deur middel van hierdie navorsing kan help met onderrig en opleiding op 'n voor-en nagraadse vlak. Dit kan ook help om navorsing in handterapie te rig binne die Suid- Afrikaanse konteks.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86347
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