Executive functions (EF) refer to high-level cognitive functions that are responsible for the initiation, planning, sequencing, and monitoring of complex goal-directed behaviour. Disorders in EF after stroke are very common and can affect performance of activities of daily living and self-care, participation in social activities, and independence in more complex activities (e.g. returning to work, driving, caring for others). Executive functions include skills such as inhibition/impulse control, flexible thinking, emotional control, task initiation, memory and attention, planning, organisation of self and materials, and self-monitoring.
There are a variety of treatment approaches for EF deficits. Some interventions reviewed in this module focus on remediation of specific EF abilities affected by stroke (e.g. memory retraining using computer-based tasks, virtual reality programs). Other interventions use compensation approaches, for instance through cognitive strategies (e.g. Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance training, problem-solving training) or external mechanisms (e.g. electronic paging systems).
Authors*: Tatiana Ogourtsova, PhD Cand. MSc OT; Nicol Korner-Bitensky, PhD OT; Annabel McDermott, OT; Deirdre Dawson, PhD OT;
Expert Reviewer: Valérie Poulin, OT, PhD
Evidence reviewed as of before 19-08-2017