The Study of Sleep and Stroke Rehabilitation

June 29, 2021

The Study of Sleep and Stroke Rehabilitation

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network has secured a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant to study the complex relationship between stroke, sleep and rehabilitation.

The $500,000 NIH grant will fund Good Shepherd’s portion of a five-year study—“SLEEPR Study: The Sleep Effects on Post-Stroke Rehabilitation”—that also marks a research partnership between Good Shepherd and SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. (SLEEPR is short for SLEep Effects on Post-stroke Rehabilitation).

The NIH grant, which undergoes a rigorous review process prior to being awarded, is a significant achievement for Good Shepherd and its research efforts, says Executive Director Frank Hyland.

The study, which began enrolling participants in April, focuses on inpatient rehabilitation stroke patients admitted to the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown. Researchers will collect data on patients when they are 15, 60 and 90 days post-stroke through an activity monitor, sleep watch and GPS device. The study will analyze data showing how well patients sleep, their mobility and activity levels and their community participation.

A total of 200 participants will be enrolled between Good Shepherd and SUNY.

“If we can understand the effect of sleep disorders on recovery following stroke, we may be able to design future treatments that improve rehabilitation outcomes,” says Emily Lyter, Good Shepherd research and telemed program manager.

George D. Fulk, chair and professor in the Department of Physical Therapy Education, says SUNY partnered with Good Shepherd for several reasons. “First of all is Good Shepherd’s dedication to patients and outstanding outcomes for people with stroke undergoing rehabilitation,” he says. “We have successfully partnered together on previous research projects, and Good Shepherd is at the forefront of applying the latest rehabilitation evidence to practice.”

To support stroke rehabilitation at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, visit or contact the Development Office at 610-778-1075.