Translating research outcomes into a novel balance assessment clinic

Experimental setup for balance testing

The ability to control upright stability is a critical challenge during recovery from stroke. Work completed during my graduate research was the first to characterize the importance of quantifying reactive balance control responses in individuals with stroke (Lakhani et al., 2011, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice). We demonstrated individuals with stroke were characterized by profound challenges to the control of rapid compensatory stepping, despite conventional clinical indices indicating very good to excellent recovery of standing balance. This finding resulted in further studies that I co-authored, which revealed the benefit of training compensatory balance responses after stroke (Mansfield, et al., 2011, Physical Therapy). The outcomes from these works laid the foundation for an innovative Balance, Mobility and Falls (BMF) Clinic at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute that now assesses reactive balance control in individuals with stroke as part of routine clinical care for inpatients in the hospital.

Impact: The BMF Clinic utilizes a unique approach by integrating cutting edge research technologies into standard care and relies on clear lines of communication between clinicians and researchers. Since it’s inception in 2012, the Clinic has performed assessments on greater than 500 individuals with stroke, utilizing clinical outcome measures that were identified from my publications from the lab. The Clinic fosters relationships between clinicians and researchers and now offers a tangible model for how individual patients may directly benefit from effective knowledge translation and is indicative of meaningful progress towards the implementation of research technology into clinical practice.