Virtual Rehabilitation to Recover Arm Function after Stroke
Due to the increasing number of people suffering from stroke, the Hospital de la Pedrera (located in Denia, Spain and part of the Agencia Valenciana de Salud, the government institution responsible for delivering healthcare in the Region of Valencia), carried out a study to find out the effectiveness of virtual rehabilitation in the recovery of arm function after stroke. Rehametrics a neurorehabilitation virtual software that allows clinicians to deliver physical and cognitive therapy in both clinical and home environments, was chosen by the Hospital as the best virtual rehabilitation software for clinical use.
Stroke is a group of diseases that impair the ability of affected individuals to participate in activities of daily living and can also reduce their mobility. Rehabilitation is essential for these patients because it helps them to improve their functionality and recover physical and cognitive functions.
For this study, Hospital de la Pedrera selected 15 participants who had suffered a stroke and who had an impaired arm function. Each participant completed a number of clinical assessments before and after treatment. The assessment consisted of the Barthel Index, the STREAM (The Stroke Rehabilitation Assessment of Movement) and the Modified Motor Assessment Scale. Furthermore, allied health staff combined a treatment based on the Rehametrics virtual rehabilitation software with traditional physical rehabilitation. During the study, 4 participants could not finish the treatment, and thus, the overall number of participants went down to 11 (7 men and 4 women) whose study data is shown in the table below.
The statistical analysis carried afterwards used the Wilcoxon non-parametric test with the aim of obtaining the results and comparing the averages obtained between each pre and post assessment. The next three graphs indicate the difference found in the PRE and POST measures, showing that the results were statistically significant.
Despite the fact that lower extremity function and balance can usually be rehabilitated -to a greater extent- after a stroke, arm function is difficult to recove. It is estimated that 55-75% of patients will continue to report an incomplete level lof arm function after rehabilitation. However, the results combining virtual and traditional rehabilitation were positive.
Although the study included a small number of participants and did not have a control group, the results were found to be favourable and promising. As a result, this study will lay the foundation for a larger one that will analyze if a combined virtual rehabilitation and traditional therapy treatment can be more effective for stroke patients.
We at Rehametrics, would like to encourage healthcare organizations to put in place these studies to promote the use of innovative therapies across care settings for the benefit of patients.
Demo video of a Rehametrics upper extremity rehabilitation exercise
– BARTHEL INDEX: Assessment to measures patient autonomy. The objective of any rehabilitation programme is to achieve a higher patient autonomy compared to that before the applied treatment.
– STREAM: assessment that measures movement after a stroke. The study used a subscale specifically designed to measure arm movement.
– MODIFIED MOTOR ASSESSMENT: measures general patient mobility.