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A long-distance relationship that works! E-therapy helps stroke patients in rural communities regain speech

Canadian Stroke Congress news: Telerehabilitation is an effective way to deliver speech therapy to people after stroke, according to a study by Toronto and Winnipeg researchers. More than a third of people who have a stroke experience communication loss – the inability to speak, read or process language. However, many Canadians don’t have access to therapy because they live in rural or remote areas. This study, involving researchers at Baycrest in Toronto and Speechworks Inc. in Winnipeg and funded by the HSF Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, involved 34 patients with communication loss who had experienced a stroke at least one year previously. Participants either received face-to-face therapy or remote therapy using videoconferencing. Both groups were also given a hand-held tablet to do homework exercises and had communication partners trained to help them. Results indicate treatments by videoconference are as effective as face-to-face therapy. Both groups achieved significant improvement. Principal researchers: Jed Meltzer at Baycrest, Allison Baird and Stephanie Harvey.

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