Stroke recovery program trial to UPLIFT patients

University of Melbourne researchers are recruiting candidates to test an innovative new way to help stroke survivors regain arm movement and learn to communicate again.

Senior Research Fellow (Stroke Recovery) and chief investigator for the UPLIFT (UPper limb and Language Impairment and Functional Training) trial program Dr Kate Hayward said one in six survivors of stroke experience loss of arm, hand and language function three-months post-stroke.

“Sites in the brain used for language function and for arm and hand function sit closely together. The key question of this trial is if we retrain these functions together, can we drive better recovery?” Dr Hayward said.

The project will provide rehabilitation for stroke survivors that will target brain centres for both arm function and language function. Funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) totalling $1 million has enabled the program to be established at multiple sites around Australia.

“We have to work out how much training to give to maximise recovery and how exactly to do that training, which is what the UPLIFT trial aims to do,” said Dr Hayward.

Approximately 27,428 Australians experienced stroke for the first time in their lives in 2020, which equates to one stroke every 19 minutes.

Patients can be left with reduced mobility and function. However, with appropriate and timely rehabilitation, people living with stroke can regain some functionality.

Researchers are recruiting up to 160 people for the UPLIFT trial from across Australia who have had a stroke in the time frame of three  – 24 months and have arm, hand and communication problems.

The rehabilitation program will involve two or four hours, five days per week for four weeks, at a clinic or at-home using telehealth.

Dr Hayward said the trial is also recruiting physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and assistants for the roles of assessor and rehabilitation therapists.

If you are interested in participating, please email

The UPLIFT trial includes investigators in Melbourne (University of Melbourne, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Austin Health), Brisbane (University of Queensland, Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital), Perth (Edith Cowan University and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital), Adelaide (Royal Adelaide Hospital) and Townsville (James Cook University, Townsville University Hospital).

More Information

Florienne Loder