Background and Purpose Previous research suggests that patients receiving inpatient stroke rehabilitation are sedentary although there is little data to confirm this supposition within the Canadian healthcare system. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to observe two weeks of inpatient rehabilitation in a tertiary stroke center to determine patients’ activity levels and sedentary time.
Methods Heart rate (HR) and accelerometer data were measured using an Actiheart monitor for seven consecutive days, 24 h/day, on the second week and the last week of admission. Participants or their proxies completed a daily logbook. Metabolic equivalent (MET) values were calculated and time with MET < 1.5 was considered sedentary. The relationship between patient factors (disability, mood, and social support) and activity levels and sedentary time were analyzed.
Results Participants (n = 19; 12 males) spent 10 h sleeping and 4 h resting each day, with 86.9% of their waking hours sedentary. They received on average 8.5 task-specific therapy sessions; substantially lower than the 15 h/week recommended in best practice guidelines. During therapy, 61.6% of physical therapy and 76.8% of occupational therapy was spent sedentary. Participants increased their HR about 15 beats from baseline during physical therapy and 8 beats during occupational therapy. There was no relationship between sedentary time or activity levels and patient factors.
Discussion Despite calls for highly intensive stroke rehabilitation, there was excessive sedentary time and therapy sessions were less frequent and of lower intensity than recommended levels.
Conclusions In this sample of people attending inpatient stroke rehabilitation, institutional structure of rehabilitation rather than patient-related factors contributed to sedentary time.