Improving arm function after stroke using task-specific training

Many people who experience a stroke have difficulty moving their arm and hand. This can affect how a person manages their daily activities, such as eating and drinking.

Research has shown that people can still have non-functional arms at 6 months after stroke – which can impact on their family roles, work or volunteering, and quality of life in general. More effective treatments are needed.

Specific training exercises may improve arm and hand function more than usual care. Our researchers are conducting a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial to test whether a programme of specific training exercises is more effective than usual care.

We are seeking people with stroke who have difficulty using their arm and/or hand to take part in this study. The study would involve assessments of arm and hand function, before and after a 6 week period. There will also be a follow-up assessment after 6 months.

Participants will be randomly allocated to one of two groups, to receive either 14 hours of training in their home, plus 1 hour self practice per day for 6 weeks, OR their usual care.

Who can participate in the research?

Have you had a stroke less than 3.5 months ago? A person may enter the study if all of the following apply:

  1. Diagnosis of primary or recurrent stroke, including stroke caused by focal cerebral infarction (ischemic stroke), intracerebral haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage and cerebral venous thrombosis
  2. Participant discharged home (i.e., permanent address, may include care home/sheltered accommodation)
  3. Participant at approximately 3 months post stroke (between 2.5 and 3.5 months post stroke)
  4. Remaining upper limb movement deficit defined as being unable to pick up a 6 mm ball bearing from the table top, between index finger and thumb, and place it on a shelf 37 cm above table (item from Action Research Arm Test)
  5. Informed written consent .

The study may result in new knowledge that may help to improve future treatments to boost function of the arm and hand after stroke.

For further information:

NSW: Please contact Meredith Tavener, phone 02 4042 0684, or email

Victoria: Please contact Bleydy Dimech-Betancourt, phone 03 9479 3722, or email

Download the participant information sheet (PDF 98 KB)