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Research paper
Intensive upper limb neurorehabilitation in chronic stroke: outcomes from the Queen Square programme
  1. Nick S Ward1,2,3,
  2. Fran Brander2,3,
  3. Kate Kelly2,3
  1. 1 Department of Clinical and Motor Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK
  2. 2 The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK
  3. 3 UCLP Centre for Neurorehabilitation, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Nick S Ward, Department of Clinical and Motor Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, London WC1N 3BG, UK; n.ward{at}


Objective Persistent difficulty in using the upper limb remains a major contributor to physical disability post-stroke. There is a nihilistic view about what clinically relevant changes are possible after the early post-stroke phase. The Queen Square Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation programme delivers high-quality, high-dose, high-intensity upper limb neurorehabilitation during a 3-week (90 hours) programme. Here, we report clinical changes made by the chronic stroke patients treated on the programme, factors that might predict responsiveness to therapy and the relationship between changes in impairment and activity.

Methods Upper limb impairment and activity were assessed on admission, discharge, 6 weeks and 6 months after treatment, with modified upper limb Fugl-Meyer (FM-UL, max-54), Action Research Arm Test (ARAT, max-57) and Chedoke Arm and Hand Activity Inventory (CAHAI, max-91). Patient-reported outcome measures were recorded with the Arm Activity Measure (ArmA) parts A (0–32) and B (0–52), where lower scores are better.

Results 224 patients (median time post-stroke 18 months) completed the 6-month programme. Median scores on admission were as follows: FM-UL = 26 (IQR 16–37), ARAT=18 (IQR 7–33), CAHAI=40 (28-55), ArmA-A=8 (IQR 4.5–12) and ArmA-B=38 (IQR 24–46). The median scores 6 months after the programme were as follows: FM-UL=37 (IQR 24–48), ARAT=27 (IQR 12–45), CAHAI=52 (IQR 35–77), ArmA-A=3 (IQR 1–6.5) and ArmA-B=19 (IQR 8.5–32). We found no predictors of treatment response beyond admission scores.

Conclusion With intensive upper limb rehabilitation, chronic stroke patients can change by clinically important differences in measures of impairment and activity. Crucially, clinical gains continued during the 6-month follow-up period.

  • stroke
  • rehabilitation
  • upper limb

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  • Contributors All authors made substantial contributions to the conception of the work and interpretation of the data. Analysis was performed by NW. All authors were involved in drafting and revising the work critically for important intellectual content. All authors provided final approval of the version published. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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