Objective: To discover if the provision of additional inpatient physiotherapy after stroke speeds the recovery of mobility.
Design: A multisite single-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the effects of augmented physiotherapy input with normal input on the recovery of mobility after stroke.
Setting: Three rehabilitation hospitals in North Glasgow, Scotland.
Subjects: Patients admitted to hospital with a clinical diagnosis of stroke, who were able to tolerate and benefit from mobility rehabilitation.
Intervention: We aimed to provide double the amount of physiotherapy to the augmented group.
Main measures: Primary outcomes were mobility milestones (ability to stand, step and walk), Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI) and walking speed.
Results: Seventy patients were recruited. The augmented therapy group received more direct contact with a physiotherapist (62 versus 35 minutes per weekday) and were more active (8.0% versus 4.8% time standing or walking) than normal therapy controls. The augmented group tended to achieve independent walking earlier (hazard ratio 1.48, 95% confidence interval 0.90-2.43; p=0.12) and had higher Rivermead Mobility Index scores at three months (mean difference 1.6; -0.1 to 3.3; p=0.068) but these differences did not reach statistical significance. There was no significant difference in any other outcome.
Conclusions: A modest augmented physiotherapy programme resulted in patients having more direct physiotherapy time and being more active. The inability to show statistically significant changes in outcome measures could indicate either that this intervention is ineffective or that our study could not detect modest changes.
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