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Use of technologies in rehabilitation

Telecommunications technology can assist with the delivery of rehabilitation services for people in the community; facilitates therapy at home after discharge, and increases access to rehabilitation including those living in rural areas or in nursing homes.

Mobility limitation is a common result from conditions such as stroke, brain injury, hip fracture and arthritis. People with mobility limitation can benefit from rehabilitation high dose programs that contain intensive repetitive exercises.

New technologies, such as exercise-based video and computer games and activity monitors, potentially provide an affordable way to increase the dose of exercise and overall physical activity for people in rehabilitation.


Key projects

Activity and Mobility Using Technology rehabilitation trial

Professor Maria Crotty and Dr Maayken van den Berg are collaborating with the George institute in the NHMRC funded AMOUNT (Activity and Mobility Using Technology) rehabilitation trial:  the largest trial internationally investigating the use of tailored prescription of technology to increase physical activity and mobility in people receiving rehabilitation.

The significance of this study is in the potential for widespread tailored use of technologies in rehabilitation to increase the dose of repetitive exercise without dramatic increases in staff costs and thus enhance outcomes in a cost-effective manner.

Technologies to enable ongoing exercise are likely to become increasingly important in the future as the proportion of older people in the population increases and resources to provide rehabilitation care become more limited.


Effects of caregiver mediated exercises combined with telehealth support

Professor Maria Crotty and Dr Maayken van den Berg are also collaborating with researchers from the VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and investigating the effects of caregiver mediated exercises combined with telehealth support on patients’ self-reported mobility and caregiver’s burden.


Key publications

Video and computer-based interactive exercises are safe and improve task-specific balance in geriatric and neurological rehabilitation: a randomised trial
van den Berg, M, Sherrington, C, Killington, M, Smith, S, Bongers, B, Hassett, L, Crotty, M. (2016). Journal of Physiotherapy, 62(1), 20-28

Effect of affordable technology on physical activity levels and mobility outcomes in rehabilitation: protocol for the AMOUNT (Activity and MObility UsiNg Technology) rehabilitation trial
Hassett L, van den Berg M, Lindley R, Crotty M, MCCluskey A, van der Ploeg H, et al. BMJ Open. (under review)

Virtual reality for stroke rehabilitation
Laver K, George S, Thomas S, et al. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 2015; 2.