Cognitive deficits occur in more than half of stroke survivors (Hochstenbach et al., 1993) and are more important determinants of broader outcomes than physical disabilities (e.g. Patel et al., 2002; Cicerone et al., 2005). Impaired attention is the most prominent stroke-related neuropsychological change, with rates of 46% to 92% reported in acute stroke survivors (Hyndman et al., 2009). Impaired attention can result in impaired functional recovery, decreased quality of life and increased risk of falls.
Stroke patients belong to the main patient groups seen by neuropsychologists working in rehabilitation (Wilson, 2008). Neuropsychological rehabilitation is concerned with the amelioration of cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, and behavioural deficits caused by an insult to the brain. There is a widespread recognition that cognition, emotion, and psychosocial functioning are interlinked, and all should be targeted in rehabilitation (Gainotti 1993; Prigatano 1999; Wilson, 2008). Stroke rehabilitation is most successful when a team approach is adopted and when there is effective communication between medical personnel and the allied health staff. Numerous studies have been published on the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation, ranging from single-case experimental designs to randomized controlled trials (e.g. Chestnut et al., 1999, Barker-Collo et al., 2009). Technology is increasingly used to help people compensate for cognitive difficulties. Guideline for good practice based on evidence for effective treatment of cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial difficulties are published (e.g. Wilson, 2008; Prigatano 1999; 2002, 2010).