Content » Vol 50, Issue 5

Original report

Accelerometry: A feasible method to monitor physical activity during sub-acute rehabilitation of persons with stroke

Conran Joseph, Björn Strömbäck, Maria Hagströmer, David Conradsson
Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, 14183 Huddinge, Sweden.
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2326


Objective: To investigate the feasibility of using accelerometers to monitor physical activity in persons with stroke admitted to inpatient rehabilitation. Design: Longitudinal observational study. Participants: Persons with stroke admitted to a specialized rehabilitation centre for sub-acute rehabilitation were recruited between August and December 2016. Methods: Volume and intensity of physical activity were assessed with accelerometers throughout the rehabilitation period. Indicators of feasibility included processes (recruitment, protocol adherence and participants’ experiences) and scientific feasibility, which assessed the accelerometers’ ability to detect change in physical activity among stroke survivors who ambulate independently and those who are dependent on a mobility device. Results: Twenty-seven out of 31 eligible individuals took part in this study, with 23 (85%) completing it. In total, 432 days of rehabilitation were monitored and valid physical activity data were obtained for 408 days (94%). There were no indications that the measurement interfered with participants’ ability to participate in rehabilitation. Despite the subjects’ ambulation status, the number of steps and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity increased significantly across the first 18 days of rehabilitation, whereas sedentary time was unchanged. Conclusion: This study supports the feasibility of using accelerometers to capture physical activity behaviour in survivors of stroke during inpatient rehabilitation.

Lay Abstract

Despite the importance of physical activity for stroke recovery, few studies have provided concrete information about different aspects of physical activity early after stroke. Therefore, this study investigated whether a wearable sensor could be useful in monitoring physical activity in persons with stroke admitted to sub-acute rehabilitation. As evidenced by sufficient quality of data across 94% of the monitored days, our findings support the use of wearable sensors to measure physical activity in a health care context. We also demonstrated an increase in the number of steps and time spent in health-enhancing physical activity across rehabilitation. We believe that wearable sensors could be a useful method in the development of programs aimed at improving physical activity early after stroke.


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