Mobility problems are present in 70–80% of stroke survivors and can result in impaired gait and reduced physical activity limiting independent living. Auditory rhythmic cueing (ARC) has been used to provide auditory feedback and shows promise in improving a variety of walking parameters following stroke. The aim of this pilot study is to assess the feasibility of conducting a multi-centre, observer blind, randomised controlled trial of auditory rhythmical cueing (ARC) intervention in home and community settings in North East England.Methods
This pilot observer blind randomised controlled feasibility trial aims to recruit 60 participants over 15 months from community stroke services in the North East of England. Participants will be within 24 months of stroke onset causing new problems with mobility. Each participant will be randomised to the study intervention or control group. Intervention treatment participants will undertake 18 auditory rhythmical cueing (ARC) treatment sessions over 6 weeks (3 × 30 min per week, 6 supervised (physiotherapist/research associate)/12 self-managed) in a home/community setting. A metronome will be used to provide ARC during a series of balance and gait exercises, which will be gradually progressed. The control treatment participants will undertake the same duration balance and gait exercise training programme as the intervention group but without the ARC. Feasibility will be determined in terms of recruitment, retention, adverse events, adherence, collection of descriptive clinical and accelerometer motor performance data at baseline, 6 weeks and 10 weeks and description of participant, provider and clinical therapists’ experiences. As well as using questionnaires to collate participant views, qualitative interviews will be undertaken to further understand how the intervention is delivered in practice in a community setting and to identify aspects perceived important by participants.Discussion
The ACTIVATE study will address an important gap in the evidence base by reporting whether it is feasible to deliver auditory rhythmical cueing in the home and community to improve gait and balance parameters following stroke. The feasibility of the study protocol will be established and results will inform the design of a future multi-centre randomised controlled trial.Trial registration
Trial register: ISRCTN, Trial identifier: ISRCTN10874601: Date of registration: 12/03/2018.