Solution Name: Body Awareness Program
Signs and Symptoms of Body Neglect
The signs and symptoms of body neglect in adults can vary, but primarily occurs to fail to report, respond, or orient to meaningful stimuli presented on the affected side.
leaving food on half of their dinner plate
bumping into the wall or a door with the affected side
avoiding turning to look at you when you are speaking or failing to recall auditory information presented on the affected side after distraction
shaving or grooming unaffected side only
forgetting to cover their affected arm in a shirt sleeve
ignoring objects placed on the affected side of their body
There are several things that you can do to help improve awareness of their neglected side. The best way to encourage use is to make environmental changes:
Place the television, remote control, glass of water, etc. on the neglected side
Place the nightstand on the neglected side
Stand on the neglected side and encourage conversation with the patient
Put wall decorations with family pictures on the neglected side
Sometimes, setting handwritten instructions on the non-affected side will remind patients to use and look at the other side
Play video games with the affected side, when appropriate
Include the neglected hand during daily tasks.
As your stroke survivor improves, you may notice that they are still unaware of objects on one side. Saying things like “What did you forget?” or “Look to your left” aren’t very helpful.
Instead, use gentle reminders such as “Here is your fork” and guide their hand. An interesting phenomenon occurs when you take someone’s hand, their head automatically turns in that direction and their eyes follow.
By first saying “Let's get your fork” and then taking their hand in yours to “search” for the fork, you’ve combined the sense of hearing with the sense of touch. (Source American Stroke Assoc)
Whatever the reason for lack of awareness of one side, everyone from family members to caregivers to nurses to visiting friends and relatives can be helpful. Take every opportunity, large or small, to help survivors tune in to that side. (Source American Stroke Assoc)
Required Materials: N/A