Aims and objectives. This study investigates the effects on patient outcomes of using a T-bar in rehabilitation programs in shoulder arthroscopic surgical procedure patients. Background. Orthopaedic nurses play an important role in facilitating restoration of patients' range of motion shoulder function. Conventionally, nurses instruct patients to use the unaffected arm to hold the surgical arm when performing range of motion. However, patients often have difficulty performing the entire range of motion efficiently in this manner. Therefore, nurses have invented a T-bar device to help patients perform range of motion in a rehabilitation program. Design. A repeated-measure, quasi-experimental study. Method. Sixty-eight participants were recruited from four orthopaedic wards of a medical center in Taipei, Taiwan. Of the patients meeting the inclusion criteria for the study, 33 were assigned to the experimental group and 35 to the comparison group. Both groups had the same shoulder rehabilitation program including identical activities, duration and frequency, except that the experimental group used the nurse invented T-bar device to facilitate range of motion while the comparison group used a conventional method. Data were collected when patients were admitted, five days and four weeks after the surgery. Outcome indicators were shoulder range of motion, muscle power and the American Shoulder and Elbow Society Shoulder Index. Statistical methods used for analysis included mean, standard deviation and repeated measures anova. Results. All the participants completed the study. Results showed a significant improvement in shoulder abduction after surgery in experimental group versus the comparison group. No significant differences were found in other outcomes. Conclusions. The nurse invented T-bar device used in the rehabilitation program was effective in helping restore the abduction function of rotator cuff repair patients in our preliminary study. Relevance to clinical practice. Using a T-bar in the rehabilitation program to improve range of motion may be considered for patients with shoulder surgery.
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