Background: Balance dysfunction after stroke limits patients' general function and participation in daily life. Previous researches have suggested that Tai Chi exercise could offer a positive improvement in older individuals' balance function and reduce the risk of falls. But convincing evidence for the effectiveness of enhancing balance function after stroke with Tai Chi exercise is still inadequate. Considering the difficulties for stroke patients to complete the whole exercise, the current trial evaluates the benefit of Tai Chi Yunshou exercise for patients with balance dysfunction after stroke through a cluster randomization, parallel-controlled design.
Methods/design: A single-blind, cluster-randomized, parallel-controlled trial will be conducted. A total of 10 community health centers (5 per arm) will be selected and randomly allocated into Tai Chi Yunshou exercise group or balance rehabilitation training group. Each community health centers will be asked to enroll 25 eligible patients into the trial. 60 minutes per each session, 1 session per day, 5 times per week and the total training round is 12 weeks. Primary and secondary outcomes will be measured at baseline and 4-weeks, 8-weeks, 12-weeks, 6-week follow-up, 12-week follow-up after randomization. Safety and economic evaluation will also be assessed.
Discussion: This protocol aims to evaluate the effectiveness of Tai Chi Yunshou exercise for the balance function of patients after stroke. If the outcome is positive, this project will provide an appropriate and economic balance rehabilitation technology for community-based stroke patients.
Trial registration: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-TRC-13003641. Registration date: 22 August, 2013 http://www.chictr.org/usercenter/project/listbycreater.aspx .