Conventional and Functional Assessment of Spatial Neglect: Clinical Practice Suggestions

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Abstract

Objective: Spatial neglect (SN) constitutes a substantial barrier to functional recovery after acquired brain injury. However, because of its multimodal nature, no single test can capture all the signs of SN. To provide a clinically feasible solution, we used conventional neuropsychological tests as well as the Catherine Bergego Scale (CBS) via the Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process (KF-NAP). The goal was to add evidence that a global approach should detect better even subtle signs of SN. Method: Fourteen individuals with lesions located in the right cerebral hemisphere participated in the study. Participants were assessed with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests, comprising a set of visuospatial tests to evaluate several spatial domains. In addition, patients underwent functional assessment with the Barthel Index, the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), and the CBS via KF-NAP. Results: The CBS via KF-NAP was associated with the visuospatial paper-based tests (p = .004) as well as the Motor FIM (p = .003), and was more sensitive than the Behavioral Inattention Test-Conventional in detecting SN (p = .014). Conclusions: We showed that the CBS via KF-NAP was able: (a) to detect functional impairment, especially motor, related to SN; (b) to selectively measures spatial rather than nonspatial dysfunctions; and (c) to be highly sensitive in detecting SN signs especially in those patients with mild severity, covering several aspects of SN manifestations. The patient’s SN diagnosis based on the CBS via KF-NAP is clinically important and directly relevant to care planning and goal setting.

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