Extra upper limb practice after stroke: A feasibility study Academic Article uri icon


  • Background:There is a need to provide a large amount of extra practice on top of usual rehabilitation to adults after stroke. The purpose of this study was to determine if it is feasible to add extra upper limb practice to usual inpatient rehabilitation and whether it is likely to improve upper limb activity and grip strength. Method:A prospective, single-group, pre- and post-test study was carried out. Twenty adults with upper limb activity limitations who had some movement in the upper limb completed an extra hour of upper limb practice, 6 days per week for 4 weeks. Feasibility was measured by examining recruitment, intervention (adherence, efficiency, acceptability, safety) and measurement. Clinical outcomes were upper limb activity (Box and Block Test, Nine-Hole Peg Test) and grip strength (dynamometry) measured at baseline (week 0) and end of intervention (week 4). Results:Of the 212 people who were screened, 42 (20%) were eligible and 20 (9%) were enrolled. Of the 20 participants, 12 (60%) completed the 4-week program; 7 (35%) were discharged early, and 1 (5%) withdrew. Participants attended 342 (85%) of the possible 403 sessions and practiced for 324 (95%) of the total 342 h. In terms of safety, there were no study-related adverse events. Participants increased 0.29 blocks/s (95% CI 0.19 to 0.39) on the Box and Block Test, 0.20 pegs/s (95% CI 0.10 to 0.30) on the Nine-Hole Peg Test, and 4.4 kg (95% CI 2.9 to 5.9) in grip strength, from baseline to end of intervention. Conclusions:It appears feasible for adults who are undergoing inpatient rehabilitation and have some upper limb movement after stroke to undertake an hour of extra upper limb practice. The magnitude of the clinical outcomes suggests that further investigation is warranted and this study provides useful information for the design of a phase II randomized trial. Trial registration:Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN12615000665538).

publication date

  • 2019