An enriched environment increases activity in stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation in a mixed rehabilitation unit: a pilot non-randomized controlled trial

Disabil Rehabil. 2014;36(3):255-62. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2013.788218. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Purpose: An enriched environment (EE) facilitates physical, cognitive and social activity in animal models of stroke. The aim of this pilot study was to determine whether enriching the environment of a mixed rehabilitation unit increased stroke patient activity.

Methods: A non- randomized controlled trial was conducted. Direct observation was used to determine the difference in change in physical, cognitive, social or any activity over 2 weeks in patients exposed to an enriched versus non-enriched environment.

Results: Stroke patients in the EE (n = 15) were 1.2 (95% CI 1.0-1.4) times more likely to be engaged in any activity compared with those in a non-enriched environment (n = 14). They were 1.7 (95% CI 1.1-2.5) times more likely to be engaged in cognitive activities, 1.2 (95% CI 1.0-1.5) times more likely to be engaged in social activities, 0.7 (95% CI 0.6-0.9) times as likely to be inactive and alone and 0.5 (95% CI 0.4-0.7) times as likely to be asleep than patients without enrichment.

Conclusions: This preliminary trial suggests that the comprehensive model of enrichment developed for use in a rehabilitation unit was effective in increasing activity in stroke patients and reducing time spent inactive and alone.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*