FIT for FUNCTION: A Community Wellness Program for Persons with Stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the 4th leading cause of death in Canada with an estimated cost of 3.6 billion dollars annually. The burden of disability linked to stroke will greatly increase in the next decade since almost 6 million Canadians will be 65+ years by 2021. Reports from the National Population Health Survey (1996-97) show that 88,000 people in Ontario are living with stroke. After having a stroke there is a 20 % chance of having a second stroke within the next 2 years, so there is a need for aggressive secondary prevention. While 25% of stroke survivors may achieve close to full recovery, 30% will be left with some disability. Stroke survivors are likely to benefit from a community exercise program that includes exercise adapted to their ability not normally available in community fitness programs. Objective This objective of this research project is to study a community-based wellness program called FIT for FUNCTION. FIT for FUNCTION combines functional group exercise classes and self-management education about managing the problems people have after a stroke. The program will be offered at three YMCA sites in south-central Ontario (Hamilton, Brantford and Niagara) with support from physiotherapists from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), Brantford Community Health System and Niagara Health Care System.

FIT for FUNCTION is sponsored by CIHR. The Principal Investigators are Dr. Julie Richardson and Dr. Ada Tang. Dr. Feng Xie is a co-investigator on this project.