Innovative computer tablet could help stroke patients recover
Stroke patients often spend days or weeks recovering in hospital, and while some rehabilitation services are available during this crucial time, many spend hours each day alone and inactive.
But now, some stroke patients at The Ottawa Hospital are using this time for speech and language therapy using a mobile tablet-based platform developed by stroke specialist Dr. Dar Dowlatshahi and colleagues. The platform, which is believed to be the first of its kind, is called RecoverNow. It allows clinicians to select various publicly-available stroke recovery apps from the Google Play store and monitor patients’ progress in real-time.
Dr. Dowlatshahi and speech-language pathologist Karen Mallet recently tested RecoverNow in 30 patients. As indicated in PLOS ONE, patients used the tablet for an average of more than two hours per day, and 96 percent found it to be moderately to extremely convenient.
The team is now conducting a second 30-patient feasibility study using a new and improved RecoverNow for Android tablets, developed in collaboration with Julien Guerinet from Dr. Kumanan Wilson’s mHealth Research Team. The next step will be a randomized controlled trial.
“Patients admitted with stroke spend the majority of their time inactive and alone, awaiting tests and therapies,” said Dr. Dowlatshahi, who is also an associate professor at the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute. “We designed RecoverNow to help patients engage in recovery therapy during this down-time while still in their hospital beds, whether it be in the evenings, weekends, or in between tests during the week.”
Pictured above: patient Norbert Franke, left, and Dr. Dar Dowlatshahi
Collaborators: Dar Dowlatshahi, Karen H. Mallet, Rany M. Shamloul, Dale Corbett, Hillel M. Finestone Simon Hatcher, Franco Momoli, Michel C.F. Shamy, Grant Stotts, Richard H. Swartz, Christine Yang, Kumanan Wilson, Michael Pugliese, Julien Guerinet and Katherine Atkinson.
Funders: University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute, The Ottawa Hospital Academic Medical Organization, Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.
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Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery
The HSF Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery is a joint initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canada’s leading stroke research centres. Headquartered at the University of Ottawa, the Partnership is restoring lives through research. The Partnership was the first organization worldwide focused exclusively on stroke recovery research. Now, it is a model for other countries. Learn more at www.canadianstroke.ca
The Ottawa Hospital mHealth Research Team
The Ottawa Hospital’s mHealth Research Team combines specialists in science, engineering and medicine who support other physicians and specialists at The Ottawa Hospital in the development and evaluation of novel digital health technologies.