Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Physiotherapy


Australian Physiotherapy Association


School of Medical and Health Sciences




South Metropolitan Health Service Allied Health Building Research Capacity


Weerakkody, A., White, J., Hill, C., Godecke, E., & Singer, B. (2023). Delivering constraint-induced movement therapy in stroke rehabilitation requires informed stakeholders, sufficient resources and organisational buy-in: A mixed-methods systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 69(4), 249-259.


Objective: To summarise and synthesise the qualitative literature relating to constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) among stroke survivors, carers, therapists and rehabilitation service managers. Design: Systematic review of qualitative studies. Quantitative studies using survey data were also included if they investigated perceptions and/or experiences related to CIMT. Data sources: Cochrane Library, Medline, JBI, Emcare, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL, PEDro, OT Seeker and NICE from inception to January 2022. Data extraction and synthesis: Two reviewers independently extracted data from the included studies and assessed comprehensiveness of reporting using established tools. Thematic synthesis was undertaken to synthesise findings for studies using focus groups and interviews. A summary of themes from quantitative studies using survey data was compiled to complement the qualitative synthesis. Results: Searches yielded 1,450 titles after removal of duplicates; 60 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 14 studies were included (1,570 total participants). Thematic synthesis identified nine descriptive themes from which four analytical themes were developed: CIMT is challenging but support at all levels helps; therapists need the know-how, resources and staffing; CIMT is different to other interventions, and there are positives and negatives to this; and functional outcomes do not always meet high expectations. Quantitative survey themes included: knowledge, skills and confidence in delivering CIMT programs; patient factors; and institutional factors. Conclusions: This review identified several determinants of implementation related to CIMT. Rehabilitation therapists need to develop their knowledge and skills to deliver CIMT, engage with organisational leaders, and develop CIMT protocols to fit the local clinical context in order to sustainably deliver CIMT in stroke rehabilitation services. Stroke survivors and carers require improved education to increase their engagement and participation. After addressing these determinants, future research should evaluate population-level outcomes and policy-level implementation in establishing CIMT as global standard rehabilitation practice. Registration: CRD42021237757. © 2023 Australian Physiotherapy Association



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.