SENSeAssess: Development and Implementation of an Evidence-Based Somatosensory Assessment for use in clinical practice settings with Adult Stroke Survivors

Ms Yvonne Mak-Yuen1,2, Ms Liana Cahill1,2,3, Professor Thomas Matyas4, Professor Leeanne Carey1,2

1La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 2The Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, Heidelberg, Australia, 3Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, Australia, 4The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia


To develop and trial an evidence-based sensory assessment tool using brief versions of standardised somatosensory assessments to quantify sensory discrimination capacity in stroke survivors across eight Australian Health organisations.

Data from existing cohorts of stroke survivors (n=50 and n=63) and age matched healthy controls (n=50) who had been assessed on quantitative measures of sensory performance was extracted and pooled. This data was then re-analysed to determine the ability of brief versions of the tests to detect impairment. Sensitivity and specificity were determined for brief versions of the Tactile Discrimination Test, Wrist Position Sense Test and functional Tactile Object Recognition Test.

High sensitivity and specificity were found for the Tactile Discrimination Test (15 or 25 vs 50 and 15 vs 25 trials; with sensitivity ranging between 76% – 79.4%, specificity 100%); Wrist Position Sense Test (10 vs 20 trials; sensitivity 93%, specificity 95%) and the functional Tactile Object Recognition Test (7 vs 14 trials; sensitivity 85.7%, specificity 92.9%).

Significance of the findings to allied health:
Evidence of high sensitivity and specificity of brief versions of quantitative measures of somatosensory performance support their use in the clinical setting. This tool, known as SENSeAssess is a valuable tool for assessing various modalities of somatosensation post-stroke and is currently being implemented across eight Australian Health organisations by Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists.


Yvonne is an Occupational Therapist, researcher and a current PhD Candidate at La Trobe University. She has worked across acute and inpatient rehabilitation settings, with a specialised focus in neurorehabilitation. Yvonne’s post-graduate research in the SENSe Implement Project focuses on the further development and trial of standardised quantitative somatosensory assessments, known as SENSeAssess, to be used in clinical rehab settings for adult stroke survivors.