This preliminary study explored change in patient-reported, health-related quality of life associated with robotic-assisted therapy combined with reduced therapist-supervised training. Seventeen individuals who were 3 to 9 months poststroke underwent sixty hours of therapist-supervised repetitive task practice (RTP) was compared with 30 hours of RTP combined with 30 hours of robotic-assisted therapy. The combined therapy group had a greater increase in rating of mood from preintervention to postintervention, and the RTP-only group had a greater increase in rating of social participation from preintervention to follow-up. Both groups had statistically significant improvement in activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living scores from preintervention to postintervention. Both groups reported significant improvement in hand function postintervention and at follow-up, and the magnitude of these changes suggested clinical significance. The combined therapy group had significant improvements in stroke recovery rating postintervention and at follow-up, which appeared clinically significant; this also was true for stroke recovery rating from preintervention to follow-up in the RTP-only group.
Robotic-assisted therapy may be an effective alternative or adjunct to the delivery of intensive task practice interventions to enhance hand function recovery in patients with stroke.
Kutner, N. G., Zhang, R., Butler, A. J., Wolf, S. L., Alberts, J. L.. Quality-of-Life Change Associated With Robotic-Assisted Therapy to Improve Hand Motor Function in Patients With Subacute Stroke: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Physical Therapy, Vol. 90, No. 4, April 2010, pp. 493-504.