Enormous benefits of therapy overlooked

An innovative and evidence-based treatment for stroke is being underused, says a physio who has developed a training course in the technique.

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy is recommended in the National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke, says Annie Meharg, who has 20 years’ NHS experience in neurological rehab units at hospitals such as Homerton and the Royal Free in London. But physios don’t feel confident about using this challenging treatment, says Annie Meharg, who developed the one-day course with colleague Jill Kings, an occupational therapist. Aimed at highly motivated patients after hemiplegia, CIMT involves restraining the unaffected arm while giving intensive task practice to promote use of the affected arm. ‘We’re giving people a task on the border between possible and impossible,’ says Annie Meharg. ‘That’s challenging for physios too. But it has the potential to be of enormous benefit f or some patients.’ The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists Interested in Neurology says CIMT is an ‘emerging tool’ that is well researched for treating certain stroke patients. The CIMT course, launched on 9 July at Mile End hospital in London, will also be held on 11 September in Sevenoaks, Kent, and on 17 November in Aberdeen.   www.harrisontraining.co.uk

Joy Ogden

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