For stroke survivors, maintaining a daily therapy routine increases the probability of positive rehabilitation outcomes. However, millions of patients in the US and Europe live in rural areas and don’t have easy access to therapists, which can force them to choose between costly daily travel to urban areas, or foregoing the beneficial treatments.
In these conditions, maintaining the patients’ motivation becomes a challenge. Additionally, for the portion of therapy that patients complete at home, the inability to monitor their compliance with the prescribed exercise regimen makes traditional rehabilitation outcomes difficult to predict, and potentially less likely to succeed.
Today, telerehabilitation based on virtual reality is an area of active research. Therapists using VR-based telerehabilitation can prescribe exercise routines via the web which are then easily accessed and executed by patients from the comfort of their homes. VR-based tasks provide patients with a controlled environment where they can exercise. Clinical measures are collected in real time and stored in online databases, accessible remotely.
Therapists can thus monitor the patients’ progress via the web and modify the therapy as needed without real-time interaction or training. In this way, therapists are able to monitor several patients exercising simultaneously at home, a big step forward from the 1:1 paradigm of traditional methods and a big cut of costs.