How much rehabilitation therapy does someone who’s had a stroke need? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Intensive physical therapy delivered to people one to two months after having a stroke and having already received usual rehabilitative services further improved their functioning, a recent study showed. Steven Zeiler, a stroke expert at Johns Hopkins, says this is an area that needs definition.

Zeiler: If we take a step back, what’s the dose of physical and occupational therapy? Nobody knows. We tend, after a stroke, in the right patients, to give a combined total of about three hours a day, and that’s physical, occupational and speech therapy combined. That’s based on what insurance companies will pay. And what emerging studies are showing us is that doing two things seem to be very beneficial. One providing more therapy, but two, providing an intense, tailored therapy. One that is supportive of a particular deficit of which the patient suffers.   :30

Zeiler says this study looked at muscle interactions, known as motor therapy, to help people with movement, and says other intensive strategies might also prove beneficial after a stroke. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.