Improving recovery early after stroke: Can we make the hospital environment more stimulating?

Many stroke survivors report being inactive, isolated and bored during their hospital stay.

Stroke research in animals indicates that exposure to an ‘enriched environment’, with opportunities for exercise, social interaction and sensory stimulation, results in improved recovery (Janssen et al., 2010). We are interested in whether changes to the hospital environment can make the inpatient stay more stimulating for stroke survivors, and therefore contribute to better recovery.

This project will focus on identifying what activities stroke survivors do in hospital, and what activities they would like to do. It will be a mixed methods investigation, with both quantitative (development of the Everyday Activities Questionnaire, behavioural mapping) and qualitative (in- depth interviews with stroke survivors) components. Findings will be used to identify activities that can be introduced to the hospital environment to increase physical, cognitive and social stimulation in stroke survivors.

Students will work within the Centre for Research Excellence in Stroke, based at the Florey Institute in Heidelberg.

Key references:

  Janssen, H., J. Bernhardt, et al. (2010). "An enriched environment improves sensorimotor function post-ischemic stroke." Neurorehabil Neural Repair 24(9): 802-813.

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