•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Background: Positive neuroplastic changes involving cortical reorganization after stroke are experience dependent and are facilitated more effectively when rehabilitation occurs with high volume. Structured experiences to promote adaptive changes can be implemented during scheduled therapies in any rehabilitation setting. However, time spent in supervised restorative therapy is limited regardless of setting. Time spent in therapeutic activity can be extended by a variety of options that patients can engage in independently, that are low-cost, and that have evidence to support their use as a supplement to physical and occupational therapy. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present four such options for supplemental therapeutic activities to support restorative rehabilitation, including mental practice, mirror therapy, low cost virtual reality, and community group exercise classes. A sample of the evidence supporting their feasibility and effectiveness is presented. Practical guidelines for implementation are provided based on the evidence. Recommendations: Evidence based interventions can be used to extend total restorative rehabilitation time as an extension of therapy activities performed in the clinic. They are feasible and effective and can support positive neuroplastic changes in individuals with hemiplegia. These strategies can and should be implemented across practice settings by physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists.

Author Bio(s)

Niamh M. Tunney, PT, DPT, MS, is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a licensed physical therapist in the state of Georgia.

Ellen R. Perlow, PT, DPT, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a licensed physical therapist in the state of Georgia.

Share

 
COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.