Brain Rehab Sunnybrook Magazine - Spring 2018

Helping recovering stroke patients make gains in mobility

St John's Rehab

Researchers at St. John’s Rehab are exploring a unique physiotherapy intervention. The goal of their research project, funded by the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, is to help recovering stroke patients who are back at their homes continue to make gains in their mobility.

The cognitive-augmented mobility program (CAMP) of biweekly sessions over eight weeks allows patients to participate in 90-minute individualized, goal-oriented, task-specific exercises in a group environment.

“The small group format created a social and welcoming setting and allowed for individual learning styles while, at the same time, we could guide the sessions using best evidence in stroke rehabilitation,” notes Katherine Dittmann, a physiotherapist at St. John’s Rehab and CAMP’s clinical research coordinator.

The program adopts aspects of an approach that is also being explored at St. John’s Rehab – Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP).

“We asked, ‘What is important to you?’ and [we] involved patients in setting their own goals,” says Dittmann. “One patient wanted to be able to lift his two-year-old grandchild. Another patient wanted to walk with ease from the subway station to his office. We help patients learn to problem-solve on their own – and continue to set and achieve goals when they no longer have a therapist with them.”

Although the research is at a very early stage, investigators report that, to date, all patients have made and maintained clinically meaningful changes on at least one outcome measure. The largest improvements have been on self-selected goals and on balance and mobility scores.