Publication Date

2009

Clinical Question

What is the evidence that robot-assisted therapy is more effective for stroke patients in the post-acute phase with upper extremity impairment than conventional or no therapy?

Clinical Bottom Line

The results of this limited evidence-based literature review suggest that occupational therapy research must continue in order to establish the effectiveness of robot-assisted therapy before concluding that it is a successful treatment for stroke patients with upper extremity impairment. The experimental studies used different programs of this intervention and found mixed results as to the efficacy of this treatment approach. The difference between study subjects may lead researchers to conclude that results from one client population may not generalize to another. The overall intensity of robot-assisted therapy programs may allow the client to become more involved in their treatment and recover functional movement more quickly than with human conventional therapy treatments. The maintenance of positive results is not known beyond six months and the mixed results suggest that further research is needed.

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