Telerehabilitation for people who have suffered a stroke and have chronic injuries

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18/06/2021

The Multimedia Applications Laboratory (LAM UPC) is developing a telerehabilitation system for people who have suffered a stroke and have chronic injuries.

This system consists of a computer application that contains various exercises and serious games so that the user does physical exercise. The interaction between the applications and the user is through a depth camera, which recognises their bone structure in real time and processes their joint angles.

People who have suffered a first stroke present an “acute” phase (first six months after the injury) in which the health system plans rehabilitation based on recovering motor and cognitive capacities as far as possible. However, most people still have affected motor and neurological functions, which tend to seriously impact activities of daily living (difficulty in moving arms, coordination when walking, etc).



The current health system does not cover or fund rehabilitation of chronic injuries. The lack of continuous rehabilitation leads in chronic cases to deterioration of motor functions recovered in acute treatment after injury. This results in an increase in dependency, which has a direct impact on the family economy, a reduction in autonomy and the emergence of associated new pathologies. This regression completely excludes the person from entering the job market and leads to gradual impoverishment due to an increased need for support and care. It also increases the risk of social exclusion.

The project is called TELEDFO and is being developed in collaboration with the Functional Diversity Association of Osona (ADFO). The ADFO is a social entity that works for the universal integration of people with a physical disability in different social environments. Those involved in the project include biomedical and mechanical engineers, a social educator, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist.

Funding was obtained through the call for project applications of the UPC Centre for Development Cooperation 2020, DKV Impacta 2020 for social entities and accessible technologies 2020 (Universia i Indra Foundation).

On 1 March 2021, a system viability test was started with ten users of ADFO who had had a stroke. A group of five users use the applications in their homes and another group carries out conventional exercises given to them by the hospital. After eight weeks, the roles are changed (crossover study). The effect of the use of these applications on movement is analysed. Currently, dynamic analyses are being incorporated and gaming tools are being introduced to the application.

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