Open Access Capstone
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Background: It is estimated that 55% of older adults who reside in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have chronic pain that affects their daily function. However, limited research has been conducted on the effectiveness of electrical stimulation (e-stim) in treating upper extremity (UE) pain for the older adult population specifically.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine whether electrical stimulation can decrease UE pain in clients age 65+ residing in a SNF. A sub-question in the study was whether e-stim can improve UE functional performance in older adult clients.
Theoretical Framework: There are two guiding theoretical frameworks for this pilot study, the biomechanical and rehabilitative frames of reference.
Methods: This study was a quasi-experimental design in the form of pretest-posttest design. Each participant was administered two pre-tests, Visual Pain Scale (VPS) and Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (QuickDASH), the electrical stimulation treatment for at least eight visits, then the post-tests.
Results: The results of this study found that e-stim shows promise in decreasing UE pain and improving UE function for older adult clients 65+ years old residing in a SNF. There was a low sample size at the conclusion of the study, therefore, more data needs to be collected in order to determine if the results are statistically significant. All participants in this study indicated decreased pain and improved UE function based on the post-test outcome measures that were used. On the Visual Pain Scale, eight out of ten participants indicated a change in score from preto post-test. The change in the VPS score was considered clinically significant, with greater than a 2-point difference. On the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand, half of the participants (5) indicated a change in score from pre- to post-test. that was considered clinically significant with greater than a 15-point difference.
Conclusions: The results of this pilot study look promising for the use of e-stim to decrease UE pain and improve UE function for older adults 65+ residing in a SNF. The study will continue to collect data until there are sufficient participants to perform paired-sample t-tests to determine statistical significance of pretest/posttest scores for both the VPS and QuickDASH
Cindy Hayden, DHEd., OTR/L, CHT
Leah Simpkins, OTD, OTR/L, CPAM, CDP, PNAP
2022 Cody L. West
West, Cody L., "Effectiveness of Electrical Stimulation in Treating Upper Extremity Pain for Older Adult Clients Residing in a Skilled Nursing Facility" (2022). Occupational Therapy Doctorate Capstone Projects. 90.
IRB Approval Number (if applicable)