Arm Recovery After Stroke

The SMART study: Standardising Measures in Arm Rehabilitation Trials


Up to 77% of stroke survivors experience upper limb impairment. Effective upper limb stroke rehabilitation is a recognised research priority. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) use over 180 different outcome measures to determine the efficacy of interventions for stroke upper limb rehabilitation. Lack of standardisation of outcome measures limits the ability to synthesise evidence to inform clinical decisions.


To achieve consensus on the outcome measures to recommend for use in RCTs investigating interventions aimed at improving upper limb function after stroke.


  • Phase 1: Systematic exploration to create an inventory of outcome measures currently used in RCTs.
  • Phase 2: Mixed methods to identify upper limb outcomes that are important to stroke survivors, carers and health professionals.
  • Phase 3: Consensus methods to produce final recommendations of outcome measures to include in SMART toolbox for use in future RCTs investigating stroke upper limb rehabilitation.


The SMART toolbox will contain a selection of robust, valid and reliable outcome measures recommended for use in stroke upper limb rehabilitation trials. The outcome measures will also capture outcomes that are important to stakeholders. Researchers will be able to select outcome measures from the SMART toolbox based on the needs of their research.

Generating a toolbox of recommended outcome measures will:

  • increase uniformity of trial output and enhance comparability of results
  • facilitate comprehensive meta-analyses examining the effectiveness of interventions
  • inform clinical guidelines and decision making in stroke rehabilitation.

Contact Julie Duncan Millar for details:

PhD Student: Julie Duncan Millar, NMAHP Research Unit, Glasgow Caledonian University
Supervisory team: 

Dr Myzoon Ali, Research Fellow, NMAHP Research Unit

Dr. Alex Pollock, Research Fellow, NMAHP Research Unit

Prof Frederike van Wijck, Professor of Neurological Rehabilitation, Glasgow Caledonian University