The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and functional impact of unilateral spatial neglect on right hemisphere stroke patients in an inpatient rehabilitation facility using a multidimensional, functionally based behavioral measure (Catherine Bergego Scale [CBS]).
This was a retrospective cohort study of 742 consecutive admissions of patients with right hemispheric stroke to an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Spatial neglect was assessed using the CBS. Functional impact of neglect was measured by hospital length of stay, Functional Independence Measure change per day, discharge destination, and number of falls.
As measured by the CBS, 86% of the right hemisphere stroke patients had symptoms of spatial neglect. Moderate and severe neglect was associated with less Functional Independence Measure change per day and lower rates of community discharge. The presence of neglect was not significantly associated with fall rate or length of hospital stay after controlling for admission Functional Independence Measure scores and age. The “difficulty looking left” CBS item had the strongest relationship with total CBS scores and effectively predicted Functional Independence Measure change per day and discharge destination.
Using a sensitive measure, the CBS, rates of spatial neglect are extremely high in right hemisphere stroke patients entering inpatient rehabilitation. Both identification and determination of neglect severity are extremely important given their significant relationship to rehabilitation outcomes and discharge destinations.
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Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to (1) describe why carefully assessing spatial neglect in right hemisphere stroke patients is important; (2) identify multiple dimensions of spatial neglect assessed by the Catherine Bergego Scale and how this approach differs from traditional paper and pencil assessment methods; and (3) describe the relationship between spatial neglect as measured by the Catherine Bergego Scale and functional outcomes of right hemisphere stroke patients in inpatient rehabilitation settings.
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