People with stroke living in the community: Attention deficits, balance, ADL ability and falls

Disabil Rehabil. 2003 Aug 5;25(15):817-22. doi: 10.1080/0963828031000122221.


Purpose: To describe levels of attention deficits among people with stroke living in the community and explore relationships between attention, balance, function and falls.

Method: Forty-eight mobile community-dwelling people with stroke (30 men, 18 women, mean age 68.4 +/- 11.2) were recruited to this cross-sectional investigation through General Practitioners. Twenty-six participants had a right, 21 a left hemisphere infarction and one had a brain stem lesion; mean time since stroke was 46 months (range five to 204). Participants' were interviewed about fall-events; attention, balance and function were assessed using standardised tests.

Results: Visual inattention was identified in five participants (10%), deficits of sustained attention in 15 (31%), auditory selective attention in nine (19%), visual selective attention in 17 (35%) and divided attention deficits in 21 participants (43%). Sustained and divided attention scores correlated with balance, ADL ability and fall-status (p < 0.01). The balance and function of subjects with normal attention were better than those with abnormal scores (p < 0.01). Analysis of variance revealed differences between repeat-fallers and non-fallers with no near-falls for divided attention, balance and ADL ability (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Attention deficits were common among this sample; sustained and divided attention deficits correlated with functional impairments and falls, highlighting that attention deficits might contribute to accident prone behaviour and falling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires