Project 181 – The REACH IT Project: Platform Development and Feasibility Study

24 Jan 2019

Dr Matthew Schmidt – $10,000

Worldwide stroke is a common cause of disability resulting in long term deficits in motor function. It is common for most people to have not regained full function up to six months later. Given the importance of upper limbs in many activities of daily living these deficits in motor function contribute to reduced independence and the ability to return to normal function. There is a great need to optimise post stroke rehabilitation to maximise recovery.

In the acute phase of stroke the recovery of lost motor function is maximised by high volumes of repetitive exercise. Persons who survive a stroke and are admitted to hospital spend most of their time inactive and do not perform enough arm exercises to maximize their recovery. Recovering arm use is a key to returning to pre-stroke function and activities. A number of barriers exist to increasing arm exercises: therapist time is limited and the hospital bed is not a suitable place to perform arm exercises.

This project focuses on developing lap-tables and electronic counters to overcome these barriers to performing exercises in bed. Enabling patients to perform self-completed exercises will increase the total dose of arm exercise and contribute to improved use of the arm following the hospital stay. This project will also lay the foundation for the future development of interventions and rigorous measurement on their effect of inpatient stroke rehabilitation.