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Structured Work Activity Group Test (SWAG)

Written by Lian Yaffe, Occupational Therapist, OT Reg. (Ont.)

As noted in our fall newsletter, several types of assessments are used to complete the Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation. Specific cognitive measures are used to assess for how cognitive difficulties are presented through occupation.

Assessments conducted in this step of the evaluation seek to use situational tasks that model real-world demands to assess a client’s ability to perform functionally.

One of the assessments commonly used to address this step is called the Structured Work Activity Group Test (SWAG).

Originally developed by the program of Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine, this test can be used with individuals with cognitive difficulties in therapeutic treatment or as an assessment tool.

The SWAG Test is comprised of a series of 8 activities that mirror commonly required job demands, such as bookkeeping and secretarial tasks which are graded in terms of difficulty and demand.

These activities provide an avenue for therapists to observe, in a real-life context, the client’s ability to follow written direction, follow multi-step directions correctly, and sustain divided attention. These tasks also look at processing speed, memory, organization, and an ability to prioritize.

As each activity increases in difficulty, the client is able to find their “just-right” challenge. Therapists can use this information to determine the client’s ability to meet the demands of their pre-accident employment, by comparing their current abilities with what would be required of them if they were to return-to-work.

This information may also provide evidence to support an individual’s claim for Income Replacement Benefits or upon disputes.

GLA Rehab will begin using this test in combination with a series of other cognitive assessments to evaluate our client’s cognitive-behavioural functioning.

By providing clients with the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in a variety of ways, such as on an application test like this, we can better observe the impact of cognitive difficulties in daily life.

With this information we can work hard to best support our clients, and help them achieve their rehabilitative goals.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact GLA Rehab.