Q&A With Joyce Sabari: Using AOTA Practice Guidelines With Stroke Rehabilitation
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
Are you an occupational therapy practitioner working with clients with stroke? You can learn in-depth information about stroke rehabilitation from the leading experts at AOTA's Specialty Conference—Adults with Stroke and earn up to 13 contact hours. November 30 to December 1 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Although it may be comfortable to treat clients with interventions learned in school years ago, Joyce Sabari, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, wants to encourage all practitioners to incorporate the latest research and evidence into their work. "We should all be conscientious occupational therapists," says Sabari.
Sabari will be presenting on how to use evidence-based practice guidelines to determine interventions with stroke survivors at the upcoming 2012 AOTA Specialty Conference—Adults with Stroke. In addition to using practice guidelines, Sabari recommends several strategies for keeping up with best practice, including participating in journal clubs, which she does with a group of occupational therapy practitioners in New York City.
AOTA talked to Sabari about strategies occupational therapy practitioners can use to incorporate evidence-based information into their work with stroke survivors and also the best way to use AOTA's award-winning evidence-based practice guidelines.
AOTA: What is the value of using evidence-based practice guidelines when determining interventions with stroke survivors?
Sabari: Evidence-based practice guidelines are resources that help us see in one place the latest research findings related to practice with a particular population. So in the case of the stroke practice guidelines, it gives the clinician the opportunity to see in one place which of our approaches are supported by research; which have not yet achieved research support; and which have been heavily studied and not shown to be particularly effective.
AOTA: What do you think is the best way for occupational therapy practitioners to stay up to date with research and practice guidelines?
Sabari: AOTA has evidence briefs that are posted regularly. There are other very handy Web sites that provide summaries of evidence, and I'll be talking about those during my presentation at the Stroke Conference. One example is an effort of the Canadian Stroke Network called Evidence-Based Stroke Rehabilitation. The site is quite easy and intuitive to navigate, and many of the entries are written by occupational therapists. Also, being an ongoing reader of AJOT is always helpful, because reading an article in AJOT tunes you into what some of the current issues are. You can always go back and check some of the references that the author has cited in that article.
AOTA: What makes AOTA's practice guidelines a valuable resource for occupational therapy practitioners?
Sabari: The editors behind the practice guidelines make sure that the reviews are objective—which is necessary in developing a practice guideline, that there are no biases from the author of the guidelines. These are not opinion pieces, these are representations of an objective search of the literature.
AOTA: If an occupational therapy practitioner is new to working with stroke survivors or has never used the practice guidelines, how would you advise him or her to get started?
Sabari: For the stroke practice guidelines, we have a continuing education program that was set up specifically for the purpose of making it easier to navigate the guidelines. It walks the user through, gives background information, provides a couple of external Web sites, and includes a few assignments designed for reflection. That continuing ed program will ensure that the individual is getting the most out of the practice guidelines. (AOTA Note: You can buy the Stroke practice guideline and the CE on CD™ product as a set here.)
AOTA: Why should occupational therapy practitioners attend the Stroke Specialty Conference?
Sabari: AOTA has assembled some of the leaders who are in very high demand as lecturers and specialists in stroke rehabilitation—Carolyn Baum, Glen Gillen, Jan Davis. It's an opportunity to see the leaders of our field who are working in stroke rehab all in one place, all in one weekend. Talk about making it easier to find out what the latest evidence and trends are. I can't imagine where you would find all these folks together in another venue. It's really an unusual opportunity to hear from the major leaders in our field related to stroke rehab.
Get information about Sabari's session and register for the 2012 AOTA Specialty Conference—Adults with Stroke here.
Stephanie Yamkovenko is AOTA's staff writer.