Music & Anxiety After Stroke

February 2019: Le Danseur et al (2019) Music as a therapy to alleviate anxiety during inpatient rehabilitation for stroke. Rehabilitation Nursing, 44(1), 29-34

Before you read my first 2019 post, turn on your favourite music, take a few minutes to simply listen, draw a few deep breaths and enjoy the sense of pleasure it generates. Funny really; if we were all to hear the music of one another, I reckon the differences would be very noticeable; and yet, “each to their own”, as the saying goes. The music that I’d select, could, and probably would, be very different to the music that select; yet, both of us would be experiencing a similar sense of pleasure. That pleasure could be relaxing, enervating or anywhere in between! Music; what an amazing thing it is!

So, could listening to music reduce anxiety of people recovering from a recent stroke? Because anxiety affects around one third of stroke survivors, this article is well worth reading! It’s not publicly available; but don’t forget, you can usually contact the corresponding author to request a copy.

For the abstract, go to the new Journal Club 2019 page and select the only drop-down option for now! For “Humble Opinion”, go to the comment attached to this post! All the very best in wherever your professional journeying takes you in 2019!

Stroke & Horse Riding

Pohl et al (2018) A qualitative exploration of post-acute stroke participants’ experiences of a multimodal intervention incorporating horse riding. PLOS One,

This is the final Journal Club entry for 2018. When it comes to stroke recovery, a collective “light bulb” moment has been the realisation that the average stroke recovery environment is bereft of stimuli, interest, reasons to participate and requirements to be involved in…well, almost anything and everything. So, here’s a stroke intervention that’s completely “out of the box”! It’s yet to be proven to be clinically effective, but for the 18 participants in the horse-riding group, the experience was transformative! I’m not sure we’d have ever considered rehabilitation could be transformative. They’re powerful words indeed. To find the abstract, go to the Journal Club page and to find “Humble Opinion”, go to the attached comment.

I hope 2018 has been a transformative year for you, in the smaller and/or greater experiences of life. For me, 2018 started with great sadness, but it’s finishing with gladness as I look towards a 2019 that’s heralding change. I wish you a hugely rewarding 2019 and here’s hoping you can enjoy some relaxing time over the Christmas/New Year break, with those precious to you.

A huge thank you to all my Changing Stroke followers and to those who have participated as learners and/or educators in my CPDLife® courses. I look forward to more Journal Clubs postings in 2019, but please note that these won’t re-start until February.

Sexuality After Stroke

McGrath et al (In press) How is sexuality after stroke experienced by stroke survivors and partners of stroke survivors? A systematic review of qualitative studies. Clinical Rehabilitation,

I don’t suppose these findings will come as any surprise, but it’s always good to have evidence that supports what we think is, or is not happening. Here in Australia, the results of the national audits support the authors’ conclusion in the abstract, that, after stroke, “sexuality is rarely discussed openly”. In Journal Club 2016, you’ll find an explanation based on a review of the literature, about how stroke impacts sexual function. The page is titled: Altered Sexual Function. So, as a follow-up, this month’s JC directs you to McGrath et al’s (In press) systematic review which investigated and systematically reviewed the “real world” experiences of those who are directly affected.

Please find “Humble Opinion” as a comment to this post, and the Abstract under the Journal 218 page.

Thank you!

A huge thank you to the 63 Occupational Therapists who completed the SurveyMonkey questionnaire about the work that you do in Australian Residential Aged Care facilities. What an amazing response! Your data are providing a strong, collective “voice” that expresses your concerns and experiences. Two colleagues and I are now analysing the data and writing up the findings. Please be assured that when it’s ready, I’ll provide you with the link.

Shoulder Pain

October 2018 Journal Club: Lindgren et al (In Press) Pain management strategies amount persons with long-term shoulder pain after stroke – a quantitative study. Clinical Rehabilitation, Online early

How do survivors manage persistent shoulder pain after stroke? In 2007 [1], this same research group published findings indicating that 22% of all patients with stroke experienced shoulder pain and of these, at least three-quarters classified it as moderate to severe. One year later, some experienced no pain, but others, who started experiencing shoulder pain further down the track, were added to this cohort. What a complicated issue this is for those experiencing it and for health professionals managing it!

Since 2007, this research group has continued to investigate shoulder pain after stroke and their findings include a 2018 publication [2], which is also worth reading, if this is a topic of interest to you.

The October 2018 Journal Club publication reports the strategies the “experts” use to manage their shoulder pain in the long-term. This article is not freely available; but as I always say, if you contact the “corresponding author”, they’re usually only too happy to send it to you.

To find “humble opinion” see my posted comment and to read the abstract, use the Journal Club 2018 link.

[1] Lindgren et al (2007) Shoulder pain after stroke: A prospective population-based study. Stroke, 38, 343-348.

[2] Lindgren et al (2018) Shoulder pain after stroke: Experiences, consequences in daily life and effects of interventions: a qualitative study. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40(10), 1176-1182.

Future of Upper Limb Therapy

September 2018: Biasiucci et al (2018) Brain-actuated functional electrical stimulation elicits lasting arm motor recovery after stroke. Nature Communications, 2421

This is most definitely an article that all those with an interest in upper limb recovery should read. Not only is this because it has been published in “Nature” (a “dream” that every scientist has, but very, very few achieve!), it is also revolutionary! Yes, that’s right. Evidence like this will revolutionise future upper limb management!! This is not an easy article to read or understand, but it will be worth persisting.

At the start of their discussion, the authors claim that: “BCI–FES therapy resulted in a statistically significant, clinically important, and lasting reduction of impairment in chronic moderate-to-severe stroke patients. In particular, the preservation of clinically relevant improvements at least 6 months after end of therapy is remarkable”. This is “watershed” evidence that closes a loop, that to date, had not been closed. I often refer to stroke as a “brain-based problem that needs a brain-based solution”, and, for the first time, we have evidence that closing the feedback loop between the brain and the upper limb is worthwhile. A remarkable finding indeed!

This article is fully available and well worth reading in my humble opinion. Select the Journal Club 2018 page if you want to view the abstract. The rest of my humble opinion is added as a comment to this post.

Are you an…

Australian Occupational Therapist working in the Residential Aged Care sector? If so,

Request: Hi! My name is Dr Isobel Hubbard. I’ve created an anonymous “Fact Finding Mission” that targets Australian Occupational Therapists working in the Residential Aged Care Sector.

If this applies to you, please use this link or go to to “have your say”. It should take around 6-10 minutes of your time and it will be available until September 28th, 2019.

If you have colleagues working in this sector, please share this link with them and ask them to share it with their colleagues. The more data we collect, the stronger the “voice”.

Background: From conversations that many of us have had, it appears that in the Residential Aged Care sector, there may be a mismatch between what our profession has to offer and what Occupational Therapists are being asked to do.

If so, using data collected from this survey, we’d like to garner evidence of this potential mismatch and in turn, give “voice” to the concerns. For example, I’d present the findings of this survey at the next Australian Stroke Coalition in November, and, if there is evidence of a mismatch, the coalition could use the findings as evidence to support letters to relevant national institutions.

Thank you: For your interest in this issue, for forwarding this on to your colleagues and, if relevant, for posting your responses.