Review of “Stroke Rehabilitation: A Function-Based Approach” Textbook

I’ve had my hands on an OT book for the past few weeks by Glen Gillen called “Stroke Rehabilitation: A Function-Based Approach.”

The book has already improved my confidence as a clinician working with such a large population of strokes. In this post, I’ll share with you why it’s such a great resource if you’re working with strokes.

Supplement Your Stroke Knowledge

I’d been meaning to purchase the book on Amazon ever since I got my inpatient rehab position in the beginning of the year. I briefly used the book back in OT school a couple of years ago when my thesis group and I were writing our thesis on the effectiveness of the Saeboflex.

After working in the adult rehab setting for the past year with 70% neuro patients, I needed something more to supplement my stroke knowledge.

If you are also working in the adult inpatient or acute rehab setting, you also will more than likely treat your fair share of patients affected by stroke.

While you likely touched on treatments and interventions in school, if you’re anything like me you don’t remember as much as you’d like. We all remember the basic hemi-dressing technique and safe transfer strategies, but there really is so much more to learn if you’re working with this population. 

Stroke Rehabilitation: A Function Based Approach (4th ed.)

Because of this, I definitely suggest picking up a copy of Stroke Rehabilitation: A Function Based Approach (4th ed.). At the time of writing this, there were several very reasonably priced used options via Amazon.

The book is categorized into three extensive sections:

1. Foundations of Stroke Rehabilitation

This section includes pathophysiology/medical management of stroke, the task-oriented approach, activity-based intervention, and improving participation through occupation.

2. Maximizing Participation in Everyday Activities

This includes ADL adaptations, functional mobility, gait awareness, work after stroke, driving/community mobility, parenting, sexual function, and caregiving after stroke.

3. Maximizing Outcomes for Specific Problem Areas Following Stroke

This is the meatiest section which covers the most. Part of what it includes (but is not limited to) psychological aspects of stroke rehab, motor control dysfunction, balance impairments, vestibular rehabilitation, upper extremity function & technologies.

The section also includes orthotic devices, managing visual and visuospatial impairments, treating cognitive-perceptual with function, wheelchair seating/mobility, dysphagia, home modifications, and more.


My New Go-To Book for Working with Strokes

This book is the best comprehensive, evidence-based stroke textbook for Occupational Therapists. It emphasizes function versus less-than-client-centered interventions that we see too often in the clinics.

There are older editions of this book available, but due to the ever-changing research I recommend getting the current 4th Edition to keep up to date.

To learn more about the author, Dr. Glenn Gillen, you can check out his website here to see his extensive experience as an OT working in neurorehabilitation in acute care and inpatient rehabilitation.


If you purchase the book from this Amazon link, My OT Spot gets a small commission at no additional cost to you and goes to support the day to day operations of the website. I only recommend educational products that I personally use and would recommend to my closest friends.

I hope this review helps if you were on the fence about purchasing the book. It personally has really helped me improve my stroke interventions and become a better clinician with this population.

Have you used this book yourself? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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  • Karen December 5, 2016   Reply →

    Hi Sarah, thanks for posting! i’d like to purchase this book through your site! Would you be able to inbox, text, email me the link one more time please ?

    • Sarah Stromsdorfer, OTR/L December 6, 2016   Reply →

      Thanks Karen! If you scroll up to the review post, you can just use the textbook link to Amazon that’s in the post and it should take you to my link. Thanks so much for supporting the site!

  • Lindsay April 4, 2017   Reply →

    Hey Sarah,
    I work in an outpatient hand therapy clinic and occasionally get a stroke patient for UE rehabilitation. Does it have anything in the book about “old” strokes? As in, years from the date of the stroke? Thanks!

    • Sarah Stromsdorfer, OTR/L April 4, 2017   Reply →

      Hi Lindsay,
      I just browsed through the table of contents and I don’t see anything specifically related to prior “old” strokes. I did just recently learn at an AOTA conference course that new motor learning can still happen years later with intervention, so I think a lot of the interventions in the book could still be useful.

  • Tara September 21, 2017   Reply →

    Hi Sarah,
    I am a recent PTA graduate in an inpatient rehab setting. Is this book specifically geared towards OT or would this a good book for me to pick up to help my stroke patients? Thank you for your help!

    • Sarah Stromsdorfer, OTR/L September 28, 2017   Reply →

      Hi Tara,
      The book is tailored to occupational therapists as it discusses ADLs and occupation-based treatments, but does cover quite a bit of relevant stroke information that is applicable to PTs and SLPs as well. I think it would still be a great resource for you if you don’t have a stroke-specific textbook already.

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