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Open Access

Home-based carer-assisted therapy for people with stroke: findings from a randomised controlled trial

  • Nor Azlin Mohd Nordin1, 2,
  • Noor Azah Aziz3,
  • Saperi Sulong4 and
  • Syed Mohamed Aljunid2
BMC Public Health201212(Suppl 2):A2

Published: 27 November 2012


Randomise Control TrialStroke PatientGroup ExerciseGait SpeedShared Responsibility


The benefits of engaging carers in the rehabilitation of people with stroke have not been well-researched despite emphasis on shared responsibility between healthcare providers and the stroke patient’s family. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a task-oriented training assisted by carer for stroke patients living at home following hospital rehabilitation.

Materials and methods

A single-blinded randomised controlled trial was conducted on 91 stroke patients. In all, 76.5% males with mean age of 58.9±10.6 years and median stroke duration of 13.0 months (range 6-84) completed intensive rehabilitation at a tertiary hospital. The control group received outpatient group exercise led by therapists while the experimental group was assigned to a home-based family-assisted task-oriented training. Primary outcomes were mobility (Rivermead Mobility Scale), balance (Berg’s Balance Scale), lower limb strength (5-Times-Sit-to-Stand Test) and gait speed. Secondary outcome was health-related quality of life as measured using EQ5D-Visual analogue Scale. All assessments were carried out at baseline and at week twelve of intervention. An intention-to-treat analysis was used to evaluate outcome of the interventions.


No statistical differences were found between the experimental and the control group in all outcomes (all p>0.25) at completion of the trial. Both groups improved significantly in all the measures of function; mobility (p<0.01), balance (p<0.01), lower limb strength (p<0.01), gait speed (p<0.05), and in the quality of life score (p<0.05). The study participants showed meaningful progress in gait speed (mean gain >8.0 m/min) after twelve weeks of intervention irrespective of the therapy group.


The home-based carer-assisted therapy is as effective as the outpatient therapist-led training in improving post-stroke functions and quality of life. The programme may be considered as part of a discharge or long-term care plan for stroke patients following hospital rehabilitation.

Authors’ Affiliations

Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latiff, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Department of Family Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latiff, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Department of Health Information, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latiff, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


© Nordin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.