A trial of the SEM Glove

 A Clinical Trial of the Soft Extra Muscle Glove to Assess Orthotic and Long Term Functional Gain following Chronic Incomplete Tetraplegia

Need: Loss of hand function is considered by SCI individuals as one of the most devastating consequences of their injury.  Many daily living tasks such as feeding, bathing and dressing become difficult without the normal function of the hands.  Intricate and fine movements which may be taken for granted but are required for various object manipulations are impaired with people with tetraplegia.  These impairments of hand function significantly reduce independence making an individual reliant on a caregiver even for the most basic activity of daily living.

Rehabilitation of the impaired hand function is a priority following SCI and intensive hand therapy is provided for individuals with SCI during the sub-acute stage of the injury. However individuals with chronic SCI require orthotic and rehabilitation devices that can help with activities of daily living and help them to integrate back into the community.

The soft extra muscle (SEM) Glove detects the intention to grip and object and ‘strengthens’ the hand to generate adequate grip force. 

The primary objective of this study is to test if the SEM Glove system has an orthotic and/or long-term rehabilitative effect on hand grasp function in individuals with chronic incomplete tetraplegia.  In addition to information on the orthotic and rehabilitative potential of the glove, the results of this study will inform on home-based self-administered therapy which is important for non-hospitalised patients with impaired hand function.

Project Stage: Ongoing

Location:  National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Project Manager:  Dr Bethel Osuagwu PhD, SMSR

Research Team

Sarah Timms (Occupational Therapist, NSIC) 
Ruth Peachment (Occupational Therapy Clinical Specialist, NSIC)
Sarah Dowie (Occupational Therapy Lead, NSIC)
Helen Thrussel (Advanced Practitioner Occupational Therapist, NSIC) Susan Cross (Principal Investigator, NSIC)

Emily Whicher (Physiotherapist, NSIC & Clinical Research Therapist, SMSR)

Mr Tony Heywood (Consultant, Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust)

Ms Rebecca Shirley (Consultant, Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust)


Funding: Multiple Sources

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