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      Optimization of Upper Extremity Rehabilitation by Combining Telerehabilitation With an Exergame in People With Chronic Stroke: Protocol for a Mixed Methods Study

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          Exergames have the potential to provide an accessible, remote approach for poststroke upper extremity (UE) rehabilitation. However, the use of exergames without any follow-up by a health professional could lead to compensatory movements during the exercises, inadequate choice of difficulty level, exercises not being completed, and lack of motivation to pursue exercise programs, thereby decreasing their benefits. Combining telerehabilitation with exergames could allow continuous adjustment of the exercises and monitoring of the participant’s completion and adherence. At present, there is limited evidence regarding the feasibility or efficacy of combining telerehabilitation and exergames for stroke rehabilitation.


          This study aims to (1) determine the preliminary efficacy of using telerehabilitation combined with exergames on UE motor recovery, function, quality of life, and motivation in participants with chronic stroke, compared with conventional therapy (the graded repetitive arm supplementary program; GRASP); (2) examine the feasibility of using the technology with participants diagnosed with stroke at home; and (3) identify the obstacles and facilitators for its use by participants diagnosed with stroke and stroke therapists and understand the shared decision-making process.


          A mixed methods study protocol is proposed, including a randomized, blinded feasibility trial with an embedded multiple case study. The intervention consists of the provision of a remote rehabilitation program, during which participants will use the Jintronix exergame for UE training and the Reacts Application to conduct videoconferenced sessions with the therapists (physical or occupational therapists). We plan to recruit 52 participants diagnosed with stroke, randomly assigned to a control group (n=26; 2-month on-paper home exercise program: the GRASP with no supervision) and an experimental group (n=26; 2-month home program using the technology). The primary outcome is the Fugl-Meyer UE Assessment, a performance-based measure of UE impairment. The secondary outcomes are self-reported questionnaires and include the Motor Activity Log-28 (quality and frequency of use of the UE), Stroke Impact Scale-16 (the quality of life), and Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire (motivation). Feasibility data include process, resources, management, and scientific outcomes. Qualitative data will be collected by interviews with both participants and therapists.


          At present, data collection was ongoing with one participant who had completed the exergame- telerehabilitation based intervention. We expect to collect preliminary efficacy data of this technology on the functional and motor recovery of the UE, following a stroke; collect feasibility data with users at home (adherence, safety, and technical difficulties); and identify the obstacles and facilitators for the technology use and understand the shared decision-making process.


          This paper describes the protocol underlying the study of a telerehabilitation-exergame technology to contribute to understanding its feasibility and preliminary efficacy for UE stroke rehabilitation.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03759106; http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT03759106.

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          Most cited references 25

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          Factors influencing stroke survivors' quality of life during subacute recovery.

          Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is an important index of outcome after stroke and may facilitate a broader description of stroke recovery. This study examined the relationship of individual and clinical characteristics to HRQOL in stroke survivors with mild to moderate stroke during subacute recovery. Two hundred twenty-nine participants 3 to 9 months poststroke were enrolled in a national multisite clinical trial (Extremity Constraint-Induced Therapy Evaluation). HRQOL was assessed using the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS), Version 3.0. The Wolf Motor Function Test documented functional recovery of the hemiplegic upper extremity. Multiple analysis of variance and regression models examined the influence of demographic and clinical variables across SIS domains. Age, gender, education level, stroke type, concordance (paretic arm=dominant hand), upper extremity motor function (Wolf Motor Function Test), and comorbidities were associated across SIS domains. Poorer HRQOL in the physical domain was associated with age, nonwhite race, more comorbidities, and reduced upper-extremity function. Stroke survivors with more comorbidities reported poorer HRQOL in the area of memory and thinking, and those with an ischemic stroke and concordance reported poorer communication. Although results may not generalize to lower functioning stroke survivors, individual characteristics of persons with mild to moderate stroke may be important to consider in developing comprehensive, targeted interventions designed to maximize recovery and improve HRQOL.
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            Validating the theoretical structure of the Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire (TSRQ) across three different health behaviors.

            Nearly 40% of mortality in the United States is linked to social and behavioral factors such as smoking, diet and sedentary lifestyle. Autonomous self-regulation of health-related behaviors is thus an important aspect of human behavior to assess. In 1997, the Behavior Change Consortium (BCC) was formed. Within the BCC, seven health behaviors, 18 theoretical models, five intervention settings and 26 mediating variables were studied across diverse populations. One of the measures included across settings and health behaviors was the Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire (TSRQ). The purpose of the present study was to examine the validity of the TSRQ across settings and health behaviors (tobacco, diet and exercise). The TSRQ is composed of subscales assessing different forms of motivation: amotivation, external, introjection, identification and integration. Data were obtained from four different sites and a total of 2731 participants completed the TSRQ. Invariance analyses support the validity of the TSRQ across all four sites and all three health behaviors. Overall, the internal consistency of each subscale was acceptable (most alpha values >0.73). The present study provides further evidence of the validity of the TSRQ and its usefulness as an assessment tool across various settings and for different health behaviors.
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              The Motor Activity Log-28: assessing daily use of the hemiparetic arm after stroke.

              Data from monkeys with deafferented forelimbs and humans after stroke indicate that tests of the motor capacity of impaired extremities can overestimate their spontaneous use. Before the Motor Activity Log (MAL) was developed, no instruments assessed spontaneous use of a hemiparetic arm outside the treatment setting. To study the MAL's reliability and validity for assessing real-world quality of movement (QOM scale) and amount of use (AOU scale) of the hemiparetic arm in stroke survivors. Participants in a multisite clinical trial completed a 30-item MAL before and after treatment (n = 106) or an equivalent no-treatment period (n = 116). Participants also completed the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) and wore accelerometers that monitored arm movement for three consecutive days outside the laboratory. All were 3 to 12 months post-stroke and had mild to moderate paresis of an upper extremity. After an item analysis, two MAL tasks were eliminated. Revised participant MAL QOM scores were reliable (r =0.82). Validity was also supported. During the first observation period, the correlation between QOM and SIS Hand Function scale scores was 0.72. The corresponding correlation for QOM and accelerometry values was 0.52. Participant QOM and AOU scores were highly correlated (r = 0.92). The participant Motor Activity Log is reliable and valid in individuals with subacute stroke. It might be employed to assess the real-world effects of upper extremity neurorehabilitation and detect deficits in spontaneous use of the hemiparetic arm in daily life.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                May 2020
                21 May 2020
                : 9
                : 5
                [1 ] School of Rehabilitation Université de Montréal Montreal, QC Canada
                [2 ] The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal Institut universitaire sur la réadaptation en déficience physique de Montréal Montreal, QC Canada
                [3 ] Mission Universitaire de Tunisie Montreal, QC Canada
                [4 ] McGill University Montreal, QC Canada
                [5 ] Université de Sherbrooke Sherbrooke, QC Canada
                [6 ] University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC Canada
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Dorra Rakia Allegue dorra.rakia.allegue@ 123456umontreal.ca
                ©Dorra Rakia Allegue, Dahlia Kairy, Johanne Higgins, Philippe Archambault, Francois Michaud, William Miller, Shane Norman Sweet, Michel Tousignant. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 21.05.2020.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.



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