COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of daily life. On the other hand, it has accelerated the way in which you are able to access healthcare services. Now, thanks to technology, you can connect to healthcare specialists with a few clicks of a mouse.
Telerehabilitation for post-stroke care has been around for over a decade. Lately, it has become more mainstream, especially after the pandemic began. It is a way to connect with your physical therapists to improve upper arm function, strength, balance, and walking after a stroke.
Many research studies have supported the use of post-stroke telerehabilitation for physical therapy. But, you still may have questions about the pros and cons of virtual care. Below you will find helpful information about whether telerehab is right for you.
Benefits of telerehabilitation for stroke survivors
Telerehabilitation, or telerehab, is the delivery of rehabilitation services through video or audio format. It also allows for easy access to experts in post-stroke care without leaving the comfort of home.
Other benefits of post-stroke telerehabilitation include:
- Real time health monitoring
- The ability to share information with caregivers
- Providing immediate feedback on exercise technique
Before the pandemic, post-stroke telerehab was used for people who could not easily travel to appointments. Now, stroke survivors with COVID-19, who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms in self-quarantine, can see providers without gaps in treatment.
Research studies have found post-stroke telerehab to be equally effective as face-to-face care. Simply put, post-stroke telerehab can still help you reach meaningful outcomes, like arm function, independence with walking, and balance, like face-to-face rehab.
Drawbacks to telerehabilitation
Unfortunately, there are a few barriers to post-stroke telerehab.
There is always the possibility of delays in WiFi connectivity or poor video quality. Depending on where you live, legal barriers may affect the timing and delivery of your care.
Several research studies have looked at the cost of post-stroke telerehab in comparison to face-to-face visits. The general consensus is that there is not a significant cost difference between the two.
Despite this, insurance companies have been slow to offer coverage of telerehab visits. Be sure to check with your insurance provider before setting up virtual appointments . This will ensure that you are not slapped with an enormous bill at the end of your care.
Determining whether telerehab is right for you depends on a few factors, including your comfort with technology and the type of interaction that you prefer with your therapists. If you like face-to-face interaction, getting out of the house, and personal contact, then telerehab may not be the best option for you.
Is post-stroke telerehab going to be the new norm?
In short, yes.
If this year has taught us one thing, it is that virtual medical and rehabilitation appointments are here to stay. Once the outbreak is over, expect to see telerehab practices continue as more clinicians, and insurance companies get on board.
The reality of telerehabilitation
Telerehabilitation has become an effective way to deliver post-stroke rehabilitation without increasing your risk of getting infected with COVID-19.
It allows physical therapists and other rehabilitation experts to deliver treatments that are important to you. Virtual services also improve access for stroke survivors who live in rural areas with limited local resources.
Telerehab will be more successful once the issues with software and legal concerns are resolved. Despite its drawbacks, post-stroke telerehab can still be a useful tool because it allows for access to expert care as you continue to work towards your mobility goals. Moving forward, you can expect telerehab to become the new standard for post-stroke care.
Home rehab is easy and effective with Neofect’s Smart Rehabilitation Solutions for stroke! Check out our cutting-edge home exercise products here.
- Kayla Covert, PT, DPTKayla is a Board-Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist who specializes in vestibular rehab. She serves as the Vestibular Director at the Baylor Scott & White Sports Concussion Program in Texas.