Community-based Rehabilitation Training after stroke: protocol of a pilot randomised controlled trial (ReTrain)

Sarah G. Dean, Leon Poltawski, Anne Forster, Rod S. Taylor, Anne Spencer, Martin James, Rhoda Allison, Shirley Stevens, Meriel Norris, Anthony I. Shepherd, Raff Calitri

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Introduction - The Rehabilitation Training (ReTrain) intervention aims to improve functional mobility, adherence to poststroke exercise guidelines and quality of life for people after stroke. A definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT) is required to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of ReTrain, which is based on Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury (ARNI). The purpose of this pilot study is to assess the feasibility of such a definitive trial and inform its design.

Methods and analysis - A 2-group, assessor-blinded, randomised controlled external pilot trial with parallel mixed-methods process evaluation and economic evaluation. 48 participants discharged from clinical rehabilitation despite residual physical disability will be individually randomised 1:1 to ReTrain (25 sessions) or control (exercise advice booklet). Outcome assessment at baseline, 6 and 9 months include Rivermead Mobility Index; Timed Up and Go Test; modified Patient-Specific Functional Scale; 7-day accelerometry; Stroke Self-efficacy Questionnaire, exercise diary, Fatigue Assessment Scale, exercise beliefs and self-efficacy questionnaires, SF-12, EQ-5D-5L, Stroke Quality of Life, Carer Burden Index and Service Receipt Inventory. Feasibility, acceptability and process outcomes include recruitment and retention rates; with measurement burden and trial experiences being explored in qualitative interviews (20 participants, 3 intervention providers). Analyses include descriptive statistics, with 95% CI where appropriate; qualitative themes; intervention fidelity from videos and session checklists; rehearsal of health economic analysis.

Ethics and dissemination
- National Health Service (NHS) National Research Ethics Service approval granted in April 2015; recruitment started in June. Preliminary studies suggested low risk of serious adverse events; however (minor) falls, transitory muscle soreness and high levels of postexercise fatigue are expected. Outputs include pilot data to inform whether to proceed to a definitive RCT and support a funding application; finalised Trainer and Intervention Delivery manuals for multicentre replication of ReTrain; presentations at conferences, public involvement events; internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal publications, open access sources and media releases.

Trial registration number NCT02429180; Pre-results.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere012375
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016


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