Does therapy dose really matter for stroke rehabilitation and recovery?
One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear in rehabilitation practice is “how often should I be doing my exercises”? When it comes to the dose or frequency of therapy for gait retraining, upper extremity function and motor relearning in general, how much is enough in terms of stroke rehabilitation and recovery?
The more we learn about the brain and neuroplasticity, the more specific we can be when it comes to understanding how much therapy for stroke rehabilitation and recovery is needed to result in functional improvement.
Is consistency more effective, for example, a more regular routine of therapy activities 5-7 days per week or fewer days per week for longer sessions? How many more repetitions do individuals need to do per session in order to see the improvements that will allow them to use their hand and arm more effectively?
From recent research, we understand that we need to be doing about 240% more time with task-based therapy exercises than the “norm”. A standard session is typically about 25 minutes and based on research looking at outcomes of the same treatment for different lengths of time, it is recommended that an individual spends 60 minutes or more in therapy to see desired functional outcomes (Schneider et al, 2016).
Virtual reality solutions like the Neofect Smart Glove for hand rehabilitation and Neofect Smart Board for upper limb rehabilitation training, allow for a high intensity, high repetition program in a reasonable amount of time. A study by Stanford Medical Center, which is still on its way to being published, showed that it was more beneficial to perform the Smart Glove program consistently daily or at least 5 days per week versus doing longer sessions less frequently. Consistency AND dosage are both important for lasting change to take place in an individual’s range of motion, coordination and timing.
To meet the target amount of dosage, you have to be engaged in what you’re doing, or you won’t stick with it. Look at what some of our Smart Glove and Smart Board users had to say about how their rehabilitation program was engaging in order to increase their dosage of therapy:
Tim G. - Stroke
“I couldn’t depend on the therapy I had two hours a week to continue my recovery; I needed to do more, which is where the Smart Glove came in. The Smart Glove gives you a smart way to efficiently exercise. If you’re able to use it regularly you’ll do a lot of good for yourself.”
Chris J.- TBI
Before the Smart Glove, my coordination was really bad. I’ve improved tremendously. Initially I couldn’t lift or break an egg or cut my meat and now I have the coordination to be safe doing that. It made therapy fun and motivating!”
Kay K.- Stroke
“...after using the Smart Board for a month, I find myself using my affected arm almost automatically for small tasks like turning on lights or making the bed. The way that the training is structured, I know that I can work hard for 3 minutes or 5 minutes and then move on to a new game, so it is easy to stay motivated.”
Call us at (888) 623-8984 to learn more the Neofect Smart Rehabilitation Solutions today and increase the dosage of your therapy program to improve your results.
- Lauren Sheehan, OTD, OTR/LLauren is an occupational therapist, adjunct professor, therapy community builder and product manager based out of San Francisco, CA. Lauren works as a Field Clinical Manager for Neurolutions.