Balance and Stability–Focused Exercise Program Improves Stability and Balance in Patients After Acute Stroke in a Resource-poor Setting

This study compared the effect of a balance and stability–focused outpatient community-based rehabilitation and a regular physiotherapy program on balance, stability, and perceptions of improvement following acute stroke. Fifty consecutive patients with a first stroke, who reported to a community-based therapy center over a 7-month period were placed into either the control group (regular physiotherapy) or the experimental group (balance and stability–focused rehabilitation). The experimental group received a program of physiotherapy focused on balance and stability exercises. The control group received the regular physiotherapy program. The Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke Patients (PASS) and the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) monitored stability and balance. The normalized data (PASS and BBS) was analyzed by using analysis of covariance. Qualitative data were thematically described. Internal consistency of baseline PASS and BBS scores was high (Conbach α, .964 and .974, respectively). PASS overall pretest scores increased from 21.96 ± 21.41 (mean ± standard deviation) and 21.52 ± 8.43 to 67.67 ± 28.42 and 80.16 ± 22.60 posttest in the control and experimental groups, respectively. Post-test scores were significantly different (P= .004). The effect size was medium (.490). The overall BBS scores showed overall mean (standard deviation) increases from 44.71 ± 22.24 and 43.43 ± 17.11 pretest to 48.71 ± 23.18 and 59.71 ± 18.20 posttest for the control and experimental groups, respectively. The effect size was considered medium (.532).

The balance and stability–focused community-based rehabilitation program was found to be more effective in improving stability and balance in patients with stroke compared with the regular physiotherapy program in resource-poor settings.