Expanding stroke telerehabilitation services to rural veterans: a qualitative study on patient experiences using the robotic stroke therapy delivery and monitoring system program.

July 2015
Cherry, et. al.
Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology

Purpose: The present study reports on a robotic stroke therapy delivery and monitoring system intervention. The aims of this pilot implementation project were to determine participants’ general impressions about the benefits and barriers of using robotic therapy devices for in-home rehabilitation.

Methods: We used a qualitative study design employing ethnographic-based anthropological methods including direct observation of the in-home environment and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 10 users of the hand or foot robotic devices. Thematic analysis was conducted using an inductive approach.

Results: Participants reported positive experiences with the robotic stroke therapy delivery and monitoring system. Benefits included convenience, self-reported increased mobility, improved mood and an outlet for physical and mental tension and anxiety. Barriers to use were few and included difficulties with placing the device on the body, bulkiness of the monitor and modem connection problems.

Conclusions:  Telerehabilitation robotic devices can be used as a tool to extend effective, evidence-based and specialized rehabilitation services for upper and lower limb rehabilitation to rural Veterans with poor access to care.


Principal Findings:

  • The Hand Mentor provides an adjunct to current therapy.
  • The Hand Mentor provides a means to maintain intervention when insurance benefits are exhausted.
  • Stroke survivors report interest in using the Hand Mentor even after the study concluded.
  • The Hand Mentor provides a valuable rehabilitation option for extending current treatment or maintaining rehabilitation when benefits are exhausted.

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