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Pilates classes prove a success in getting stroke patients moving

23 August 2012 - 11:58am

Stroke survivors in Northern Ireland have benefited from a pilot trial of physiotherapy-led Pilates classes to help in their rehabilitation.


The classes began after positive outcomes from pilates and physiotherapy at the Belfast Community Stroke Scheme

The six-week service was developed by Rachel Flinn, a clinical specialist physiotherapist for Belfast Community Stroke Team, and run in conjunction with the charity Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke.

The classes were held every Wednesday at a local leisure centre, chosen because it was easily accessible for all the clients.

Ms Flinn proposed the project after seeing the positive outcomes that came from Pilates exercises used in one-to-one physiotherapy rehabilitation at the Belfast Community Stroke Scheme.

Participants in the Pilates pilot scheme had their quality of life measured using the Stroke-Adapted Sickness Impact Profile-30 (SA – SIP30) and the scores indicated an improvement in 50 per cent of the group.

Positive feedback

The patients involved also provided positive feedback about the classes. One participant was now keen to attend standard Pilates classes and another said the scheme had given them the confidence to attend a local gym.

‘The outcomes from this set of six Pilates classes has demonstrated what  benefits would be gained by stroke survivors if a rolling set of classes could be set up within the Belfast Trust,’ said Ms Flinn.

‘This would also assist in a natural progression from therapy-led rehabilitation to social integration rehabilitation,’ she added.

If the scheme is expanded Ms Flinn said physiotherapists would be able refer patients on to the Pilates classes for advanced balance re-education, social integration and an introduction to other Chest, Heart and Stroke Association activities.


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