Effectiveness of home-based upper limb rehabilitation in stroke survivors: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sharon Fong Mei Toh, Pei Fen Chia, Kenneth N.K. Fong (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Home-based training is an alternative option to provide intensive rehabilitation without costly supervised therapy. Though several studies support the effectiveness of home-based rehabilitation in improving hemiparetic upper limb function in stroke survivors, a collective evaluation of the evidence remains scarce. Objectives: This study aims to determine the effects of home-based upper limb rehabilitation for hemiparetic upper limb recovery in stroke survivors. Methods: The databases of the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Web of Science were systematically searched from January 2000 to September 2020. Only randomized, controlled, and cross-over trials that evaluated the effects of home-based upper limb interventions were selected. The Pedro scale was used to assess the methodological quality of the studies. A meta-analysis of the upper limb function outcomes was performed by calculating the mean difference/standardized mean difference using a fixed/random effect model. Results: An initial search yielded 1,049 articles. Twenty-six articles were included in the review. The pooled evidence of the meta-analysis showed that home-based upper limb intervention was more effective in improving upper limb function [SMD: 0.28, 95% CI (0.12, 0.44), I2 = 0%, p < 0.001, fixed effect model] than conventional therapy. When comparing two types of home-based interventions, subgroup analysis revealed that home-based technology treatment—electrical stimulation—provided more significant improvement in upper limb function than treatment without the use of technology (SMD: 0.64, 95% CI (0.21, 1.07), I2 = 0%, p = 0.003, random effect model). Conclusion: The beneficial effects of home-based upper limb interventions were superior to conventional therapy in improving function and perceived use of the hemiparetic upper limb in daily activities. Among the home-based interventions, home-based electrical stimulation seemed to provide the most optimal benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number964196
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2022


  • hemiparetic upper limb
  • home-based interventions
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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