Is navigation ability a problem in mild stroke patients? Insights from self-reported navigation measures
Ineke J.M. van der Ham , Neeltje Kant , Albert Postma , Johanna M. A. Visser-Meily
Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, 2331BK Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Objective: The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of navigation problems in patients with mild stroke, using a navigation questionnaire (the Wayfinding Questionnaire; WQ). In addition, the correlations between WQ scores and quality of life measures and neuropsychological test scores were studied.
Methods: A sample of 62 patients with mild stroke completed a questionnaire measuring self-reported navigation ability and spatial anxiety. A subset of this sample (n = 31) also completed a questionnaire on quality of life. Additional relevant neuropsychological data were retrieved from medical files and correlated with WQ and quality of life scores.
Results: The results indicate that self-reported navigation impairment occurs in a substantial proportion of patients (29. 0%), compared with a large control group (n = 384) of which 19. 9% showed impairment. Moreover, these ratings are closely linked to quality of life and negatively correlated with spatial anxiety. The neuro-psychological data show that there is very little correlation between scores on commonly administered tests and navigation ability, which is in line with the results of a previous study.
Conclusion: As our data indicate that navigation impairment is common among patients with mild stroke, we recommend a specific focus on navigation ability as part of neuropsychological assessment. This focus is currently lacking. Furthermore, the use of dedicated, experimental navigation tests in cases of explicit problems with navigation should be considered, in order objectively to measure such impairments.
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