Visual perceptual deficit screening in stroke survivors: evaluation of current practice in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
Colwell MJ., Demeyere N., Vancleef K.
PURPOSE: Visual perceptual deficits are frequently underdiagnosed in stroke survivors compared to sensory vision deficits or visual neglect. To better understand this imparity, we evaluated current practice for screening post-stroke visual perceptual deficits. METHODS: We conducted a survey targeted at professionals working with stroke survivors involved in screening visual perceptual deficits across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. RESULTS: Forty orthoptists and 174 occupational therapists responded to the survey. Visual perceptual deficit screening was primarily conducted by occupational therapists (94%), with 75∼100% of stroke survivors screened per month. Respondents lacked consensus on whether several common post-stroke visual deficits were perceptual or not. During the screening, respondents primarily relied on self-reports and observation (94%), while assessment batteries (58%) and screening tools were underutilised (56%) and selected inappropriately (66%). Respondents reported lack of training in visual perception screening (20%) and physical/cognitive condition of stroke survivors (19%) as extremely challenging during screening. CONCLUSIONS: Visual perceptual deficits are screened post-stroke at a similar rate to sensory vision or visual neglect. Underdiagnosis of visual perceptual deficits may stem from both reliance on subjective and non-standardised screening approaches, and conflicting definitions of visual perception held among clinicians. We recommend increased training provision and use of brief performance-based screening tools.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONLack of agreement among clinicians on what constitutes as visual perceptual or sensory vision deficits may prove problematic, as precise and exact language is often required for clinical decision-making (e.g., referrals).Biases for more familiar visual (perceptual) deficits held among clinicians during the screening process may lead to other visual deficits being missed.To avoid problems being missed, clinicians should aim to use standardised assessments rather than stroke survivor self-report and observations of function when screening for visual perceptual difficulties.