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Family-assisted exercise 'improves stroke recovery'

Family-assisted exercise 'improves stroke recovery'
7th March 2011

Stroke patients whose family are involved in their exercise therapy enjoy a better recovery, researchers have found.

A study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, found that when family-assisted exercise therapy was added to the standard physical therapy stroke survivors undergo, they exhibited improved motor function, walking distance, balance and ability to perform everyday activities.

Emma Stokes, of Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, said: "Instead of adding burden to the caregiver, participating in exercise actually enabled the family member to do something practical for their loved one in hospital.

"Caregivers were less stressed and more empowered."

Meanwhile, researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, have said that doctors should carry out simple tests to determine if stroke survivors are able to drive safely.

This procedure would involve a road sign recognition test, a compass task for visual perception and visual-spatial ability assessment and a mental speed and a trail making test to examine the patient's visual-motor tracking and visual scanning skills.

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