Patient perceptions of telerehabilitation consultations post-stroke

Ms Melissa Prause1,2, Dr Kathleen Bagot1

1The Florey Institue of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia, 2The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Aim: To determine stroke patients’ perceptions of consultation with health professionals through telerehabilitation in their home environment.

Method: The databases Cinahl, Medline, PsycINFO, Embase, PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Web of Science and Proquest were searched during May 2016. Reference lists from systematic reviews and individual articles were hand searched. Studies were included if they were published in English, recruited participants who were stroke survivors, involved telerehabilitation through synchronised consultation between the participant and the researcher/therapist and assessed the participant’s perceptions of telerehabilitation. Studies were excluded if they were not published in English, focussed on acute stroke treatment, recruited participants other than stroke survivors, did not assess participant perception of telerehabilitation, provided rehabilitation through virtual reality/ robotic therapies or focussed solely on the perceptions of therapists or carers. The quality of included studies was assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project tool.

Results: A total of seven studies across eight articles were eligible for analysis. These included three cohort studies, one qualitative focus group and three descriptive study designs. The disciplines involved included Speech Therapy, Neuropsychology, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. While the quality of the studies was low, participants were highly satisfied with telerehabilitation and were agreeable to future use. However, participants felt it was still important to have some face to face contact with their therapists. These findings were limited to chronic stroke patients with mild impairments.

Significance of the findings to allied health: Based on participant’s perceptions, there is potential for the use of telerehabilitation in home-based stroke rehabilitation. However, if future research is to guide practice, it should involve patients in the first 6-12 months of their rehabilitation and consider potential barriers to telerehabilitation in the home.