Table of Contents
ISRN Stroke
Volume 2014, Article ID 504910, 10 pages
Review Article

Does Task-Oriented Practice Improve Upper Extremity Motor Recovery after Stroke? A Systematic Review

1School of Rehabilitation Science, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Room 436, Institute for Applied Health Sciences 1400 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 1C7
2Population Health Research Institute, DBCVS Research Institute, McMaster University, 3rd Floor, 237 Barton St. East, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8L 2X2
3109 Robinhood Drive, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 4G2
4Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Centre for Evaluation of Medicines, McMaster University, 105 Main St. East, Level PI, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8N 1G6
5School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, 1400 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 1C7

Received 4 November 2013; Accepted 12 December 2013; Published 18 February 2014

Academic Editors: H. McNaughton and A. Slivka

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Bosch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Stroke commonly affects upper extremity motor abilities, yet there has been very limited success in developing effective rehabilitation interventions to remediate motor impairments, particularly for the upper extremity. Objective. To determine if task-oriented practice administered soon after stroke is more effective than usual care in improving poststroke upper extremity motor recovery and to explore the optimal amount of practice. Methods. A systematic review of the literature was performed from 1950 to November 2012, to identify randomized controlled trials of task-oriented practice compared to usual care, or to different amounts of task-oriented practice to improve motor impairment and activity. Studies were excluded if specific types of interventions were used as comparators or if they were of poor methodological quality. Results. Six studies met the review criteria. Three of the six studies demonstrated a statistically significant effect of task-oriented practice. Study results could not be pooled because of a lack of homogeneity in populations and intervention. Conclusions. The results demonstrate that an increase in the amount of task-oriented practice after stroke may result in less upper extremity impairment; further research on both effect and required dosage is needed as results are inconsistent.