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Open Access Study protocol

A randomised controlled trial evaluating family mediated exercise (FAME) therapy following stroke

Rose Galvin1, Tara Cusack2 and Emma Stokes1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

2 School of Physiotherapy and Performance Science, College of Life Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland

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BMC Neurology 2008, 8:22  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-22

Published: 20 June 2008

Abstract

Background

Stroke is a leading cause of disability among adults worldwide. Evidence suggests that increased duration of exercise therapy following stroke has a positive impact on functional outcome following stroke. The main objective of this randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the impact of additional family assisted exercise therapy in people with acute stroke.

Methods/Design

A prospective multi-centre single blind randomised controlled trial will be conducted. Forty patients with acute stroke will be randomised into either an experimental or control group. The experimental group will receive routine therapy and additional lower limb exercise therapy in the form of family assisted exercises. The control group will receive routine therapy with no additional formal input from their family members. Participants will be assessed at baseline, post intervention and followed up at three months using a series of standardised outcome measures. A secondary aim of the project is to evaluate the impact of the family mediated exercise programme on the person with stroke and the individual(s) assisting in the delivery of exercises using a qualitative methodology. The study has gained ethical approval from the Research Ethics Committees of each of the clinical sites involved in the study.

Discussion

This study will evaluate a structured programme of exercises that can be delivered to people with stroke by their 'family members/friends'. Given that the progressive increase in the population of older people is likely to lead to an increased prevalence of stroke in the future, it is important to reduce the burden of this illness on the individual, the family and society. Family mediated exercises can maximise the carry over outside formal physiotherapy sessions, giving patients the opportunity for informal practice.

Trial Registration

The protocol for this study is registered with the US NIH Clinical trials registry (NCT00666744)