Stroke survivors experience complex combinations of impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. The essential components of stroke rehabilitation remain elusive. Determining efficacy in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is challenging; there is no commonly agreed primary outcome measure for rehabilitation trials. Clinical guidelines depend on proof of efficacy in RCTs and meta-analyses. However, diverse trial aims, differing methods, inconsistent data collection, and use of multiple assessment tools hinder comparability across trials. Consistent data collection in acute stroke trials has facilitated meta-analyses to inform trial design and clinical practice. With few exceptions, inconsistent data collection has hindered similar progress in stroke rehabilitation research. There is an urgent need for the routine collection of a core dataset of common variables in rehabilitation trials.
- randomised controlled trial