Journal of Taiwan Occupational Therapy Research and Practice
Objective: Task-oriented, task-related and task-specific trainings are often used to reduce motor impairments in stroke patients. The purpose of this article was to review the concepts of these training approaches and to review relevant empirical studies that examined the efficacy of the treatment. The present systematic review searched for original efficacy studies dated before July 2009 in the Pubmed, Medline, Scopus and ProQuest databases. The studies included in this review need to be relevant to task-oriented, task-related, or task-specific training programs. Results: Twnety-nine eligible studies were located. Nineteen of these reports were categorized as studies of task-oriented or task-related training, and 10 involved task-specific training. These approaches were applied to the training of both upper and lower extremities in the studies. Treatment outcomes varied depending on study characteristics, including treatment methods and outcome measures. Overall, both the task-oriented/task-related and task-specific training improved functional outcomes. The task-oriented and task-related training showed salient effects on motor abilities and motor function in either the upper or the lower extremity. In contrast, the task-specific training conferred benefits on motor ability of the upper extremity and brain activation, but the effects on motor function were limited. The efficacy of the treatments on daily function and quality of life was not clear due to the limited number of investigations employing these outcome measures. The combined task-oriented or task-related training and other therapies enhanced the treatment effects on motor performance and daily function in comparison with a single training approach. Conclusion: This review showed evidence in support of the efficacy of task-oriented and task-related training on motor function. Task- specific training may improve specific movement components (e.g., upper-limb reaching movements). Although the effects were limited to improving motor abilities of the hemiplegic upper extremity, the task-specific training could be applied to a variety of clinical populations. Further research may be focused on the effects of task training approaches on daily functions and quality of life with follow-up study.