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Exteroception
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Clinical notes and interpretation
  • A patient with an absence of touch awareness has a greater risk of injury.
  • Diminished touch awareness may lead to decreased fine motor coordination.  If the upper limb is involved, the patient may only be able to use it to assist with functional activities and/or rely on vision to guide its movement.
  • A lesion in the central nervous system may cause a widespread loss of touch awareness (i.e., the entire upper extremity). This may lead to unilateral neglect, particularly if the lesion is on the right side of the brain. 
  • A patient who has experienced significant traumatic injury should be assessed for all levels of sensory impairment including central, spinal, and peripheral.
  • If the area of sensory impairment is small, the patient may not be aware of sensory loss. 
  • Pain and temperature typically recover before touch.
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Section: Exteroception
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Page 6 of 7
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