A network of sites and ‘up-skilled’ therapists to deliver best-practice stroke rehabilitation of the upper limb

Our partnership of clinicians, health providers, consumers, researchers and academics aims to increase access to science-based stroke rehabilitation of the arm and hand and achieve better outcomes for stroke survivors. We will deliver a knowledge translation hub, specialist delivery clinics, and a community of up-skilled therapists embedded in a range of health care settings. We will also develop an implementation template to guide future translational activities and delivery of science-based rehabilitation interventions.

Effective therapies are available to improve hand function after stroke. However, our national survey found that stroke survivors with impaired touch sensation are not receiving recommended best-practice therapy. We formed a partnership of clinicians, health providers, consumers, researchers and academics, with the aim to increase access to best-practice upper-limb rehabilitation and thus achieve better outcomes for stroke survivors. We developed a ‘knowledge transfer’ intervention and partnered with eight healthcare networks to improve implementation in existing clinical practice settings. With the support of a National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership grant, we expanded our collaborative team to create a centralised knowledge-translation hub and four specialist therapy centres. Our model is working to increase access through: education and upskilling of therapists; provision of specialist community services to complement existing services; embedding a community of up-skilled therapists in healthcare settings; and creation of a structure to support and sustain change.

Potential student projects

  • Process and economic evaluation of an implementation science project to deliver best-practice stroke rehabilitation of the upper limb
  • The role of stroke survivors and other stakeholders in the SENSE CONNECT partnership, and specialist therapy centres
  • Delivery of best-practice SENSe Therapy via specially trained therapists and specialist therapy centres
  • The relationship between somatosensory retraining and chronic upper limb pain in stroke: a multi-centre trial


The core team comprises a multidisciplinary group of experts in implementation science, stroke rehabilitation and service delivery:

  • Professor Leeanne Carey, La Trobe University and The Florey: Occupational therapist, rehabilitation, neuroscience, implementation science.
  • Professor Michael Nilsson, Hunter Medical Research Institute: Rehabilitation physician, knowledge translation leader.
  • Professor Vincent Thijs, Austin Health and The Florey: Stroke neurologist, neuroscience, stroke services.
  • Associate Professor Natasha Lannin, LaTrobe and Alfred Health: Occupational therapist, NHMRC Translating Research into Practice fellow.
  • Associate Professor Susan Hillier, UniSA Health: Physiotherapist, rehabilitation, guideline development.
  • Professor Dominique Cadilhac, The Florey and Monash University: Nurse, health economist, head Translational Public Health Unit, Australian Stroke Clinical Registry.
  • Professor Geoffrey Donnan, The Florey: Neurologist, stroke management.
  • Professor Meg Morris, Clinical and Rehabilitation practice, LaTrobe and Healthscope.
  • Professor Leonid Churilov, Statistics and Decision Analysis Academic platform, The Florey.
  • Professor Marion Walker, Stroke Rehabilitation, implementation, UK.

Collaborators and partner leads/organisations include:

  • Professor Geoffrey Cloud, Alfred Health (metro public)
  • Professor Michael Pollack, Hunter New England Health (interstate, metro)
  • Professor Esther May, UniSA Health (interstate private)
  • Professor Vincent Thijs and Michael Murray, Austin Health (metro public)
  • Professor John Olver, Epworth Health (metro private)
  • Professor Marc Budge, Bendigo Health (rural public)
  • Professor Tissa Wijeratne, Western Health (metro public)
  • Dr Toni Hogg, Barwon Health (regional public)
  • Fiona McKinnon, St Vincent’s Hospital (metro public)
  • Sharon McGowan, National Stroke Foundation, consumer advocate group

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Students who are applying to study at The Florey can register their interest in this project. Refer to our step-by-step guide to help you with your application.

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This project is open for expressions of interest from those wanting to take part in a clinical trial. Contact us to learn more about participating.

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Contact us

Professor Leeanne Carey

[email protected]