Of the numerous deficits and phenomena that are seen as the result of having a stroke, one impairment that seemingly remains quite a mystery is the phenomenon of left neglect. Neglect is defined as the failure to orient, report, and respond to relevant stimuli on the side opposite the lesion (Kinsella, Olver, Ng, Packer, and Stark, 1993). Our review of the literature indicates a wealth of research articles regarding techniques to minimize left neglect, but little on what physical therapists do in their treatment of patients with this condition. Also indicated in some of the literature is that left neglect is a contributing factor to an increase in length of hospital stay for patients with left neglect. Given the poorer prognosis for functional recovery in patients with neglect, such as safety, the authors of this study feel that left neglect should be an aera of focusing during evaluations and treatment. The purpose of our study was to determine whether or not left neglect is a factor in increased length of hospital stay and what techniques are used by physical therapists in their treatment of patients with left neglect.
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