OBJECTIVE. This pilot study examined collaborative, goal-focused therapy to determine its effects on performance of self-care activities, including eating, grooming, bathing, upper body dressing, lower-body dressing, and toileting.

METHOD. Thirty-one patients at a rehabilitation hospital, divided between control and experimental groups, comprised the sample. Participants’ performances on self-care activities were measured using the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) at admission to therapy and again at a 2-week follow-up. Attainment of goals was not emphasized in the control group. In the experimental group, new goals and achievement of previously set goals were regularly discussed and documented. Comparisons were made between 2-week FIM scores of the control and experimental groups, and data were analyzed by the Mann-Whitney U test.

RESULTS. The experimental group demonstrated greater gains on FIM scores when compared to the control group on all self-care activities, but only upper-body dressing met levels of statistical significance.

CONCLUSION. Findings support the efficacy of collaborative, goal-focused occupational therapy in the treatment of deficits in upper-body dressing, but did not support this approach with toileting, eating, grooming, bathing, and lower-body dressing. Further study, with a larger sample, is recommended.

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