1. Matzo, Marianne PhD, GNP-BC, FAAN


Task-oriented training has a positive effect.


Article Content

Strokes are caused by a disruption in the blood supply to the brain and its surrounding nerve cells. This lack of blood (and the oxygen and nutrients it contains) results in loss of function of certain nerves and the areas of the body they control. It has been shown that stroke patients need at least 16 hours a week in a rehabilitation program to improve their ability to perform activities of daily living; however nurses, who can provide continuous, daily care, may be better able to help stroke patients in their relearning efforts. This evidence-based review examines the use of task-oriented training for stroke survivors and the relevance of this training to nursing practice.


Although not conclusively defined in the literature, task-oriented training includes strength training, exercises to improve balance, and functional tasks such as grasping objects, movement therapy, and mental imagery. Using standard methodology, the authors identified nine systematic reviews and 33 randomized, controlled trials for inclusion in the paper. Task-oriented interventions that had the greatest effect on patient outcomes included those that improved physical endurance and agility, incorporated strength training, integrated upper and lower body training, utilized mental imaging, and were related to something the patient found meaningful.


The crux of the matter. Nurses should help create opportunities for patients to practice their exercises outside of scheduled therapy sessions. Nurses are an important part of an interdisciplinary stroke rehabilitation team, and their collaborative efforts have the potential to improve functional outcomes and health-related quality of life.


Rensink M, et al. J Adv Nurs 2009;65(4):737-54.