Loss of arm function affects up to 85% of patients with acute stroke and it is one of the most distressing long-term consequences. Currently, it is not clear how best to provide therapy to enhance arm recovery. Previous research suggests that a type of therapy called repetitive functional task practice (RFTP) may be beneficial but this is not yet proven. RFTP therapy involves practising everyday activities with the affected arm. These activities can be practised by patients themselves after an initial session with a therapist, with on-going advice and supervision.
This project aims to develop and test an RFTP therapy programme. Research physiotherapists will develop the programme in conjunction with stroke unit staff and patients. A pilot study will provide important information about the feasibility and design of a larger clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost of the RFTP therapy programme. Following this research project, a multi-centre randomised controlled trial to evaluate RFTP therapy will be required.