Stroke survivors' experiences with home-based telerehabilitation using an assistive device to improve upper limb function: a qualitative study

A. H. Spits*, S. G. Rozevink, G. A. Balk, J. M. Hijmans, C. K. van der Sluis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose Patients in the chronic phase after stroke often lack the possibility to intensively train their upper limb function. Assistive devices can be a solution to training intensively at home. This qualitative study investigated stroke survivors' experiences regarding training using the hoMEcare aRm rehabiLItatioN (MERLIN) system, an assistive device and telecare platform. We investigated patients' perspectives regarding the home-based training with the MERLIN system, on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) domains and the facilitators and barriers of the MERLIN system. Methods Eleven patients in the chronic phase of stroke who completed the MERLIN trial took part in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were analysed using the framework method. Results Participants were in general positive about the device and the training. Several experienced positive effects on ICF body functions, such as joint range of motion and self-confidence. Some experienced improvements in activities, but not on participation level. Home training had advantages: flexibility in training time and duration and no need to travel. The major barriers were technical hard- and software issues and ergonomic complaints. A list of recommendations regarding assistive devices and home-based rehabilitation was created. Conclusions Homebased training using an assistive device was well received by stroke patients to train their upper limb function. Future device developers should take patients' feedback into account to overcome the barriers related to the introduction of new assistive devices at home. Our recommendations may be the first step to implementing patients' perspectives during the early stages of device development.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22-Sep-2022

Keywords

  • Stroke
  • upper extremity
  • telerehabilitation
  • home-based training
  • qualitative research
  • assistive training device
  • UPPER EXTREMITY
  • THERAPY
  • REHABILITATION
  • INTERVIEWS
  • RECOVERY
  • SERVICES
  • PROGRAM
  • TIME

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