Circuit class therapy or seven-day week therapy for increasing rehabilitation intensity of therapy after stroke (CIRCIT): a randomized controlled trial
Esterman, Adrian Jeffrey
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BACKGROUND: Increased therapy has been linked to improvements in functional ability of people with stroke. AIM: To determine the effectiveness of two alternative models of increased physiotherapy service delivery (seven-day week therapy or group circuit class therapy five days a week) to usual care. METHOD: Three-armed randomized controlled trial with blinded assessment of outcome. People admitted with a diagnosis of stroke, previously independently ambulant and with a moderate level of disability were recruited. 'Usual care' was individual physiotherapy provided five-days a week. Seven-day week therapy was usual care physiotherapy provided seven-days a week. Participants in the circuit class therapy arm of the trial received physiotherapy in group circuit classes in two 90-min sessions, five-days a week. Primary outcome was distance walked on the six-minute walk test at four-weeks post-randomization. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-three participants were randomized; primary outcome data were available for 259 (92%). In the seven-day arm participants received an additional three hours of physiotherapy and those in the circuit class arm an additional 22 h. There were no significant between-group differences at four-weeks in walking distance (P = 0.72). Length of stay was shorter for seven-day (mean difference -2.9 days, 95% confidence interval -17.9 to 12.0) and circuit class participants (mean difference -9.2 days, 95% confidence interval -24.2 to 5.8) compared to usual care, but this was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Both seven-day therapy and group circuit class therapy increased physiotherapy time, but walking outcomes were equivalent to usual care.