Effectiveness of a fall risk reduction program for a community dwelling stroke sample: An RCT with economic evaluation

Stroke is the number one cause of neurological disability in Canada. Each year, 50,000 Canadians have a stroke, and of those who survive, 76 per cent are left with a significant disability. Mobility impairment is the major problem faced by most people who have had a stroke, but there are few community exercise programs to maintain mobility and function after formal therapy ends. Poor cardiovascular fitness and a decrease in bone density put people who have experienced a stroke at greater risk for depression, cardiovascular disease, recurrent stroke, falls and fragility fractures. Dr. Maureen Ashe is investigating whether a community-based exercise and education program reduces these secondary complications, by improving balance, strength, bone density and overall level of fitness. While other research has looked at the short-term benefits of exercise in a clinical setting, this is the first Canadian study to examine if exercise improves health among people living in the community following a stroke, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this approach in reducing falls.