The reality is that at least 50 per cent of Canadians who experience a stroke do not receive the optimal amount of rehabilitation while in the hospital, and many patients spend hours waiting around for their next therapy session.
Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital are trying to change that.
They have developed a fully-loaded hand-held tablet, called iRecover, with apps to assess communication skills and deliver speech therapy to patients at the bedside. Feasibility testing with 30 patients presented at Congress found the tool to be well received by 97% of study participants, who spent an average of two hours and 30 minutes a day using the tablet while in hospital.
The next phase of iRecover will incorporate depression screening, cognitive therapy and therapy for fine motor control. At the same time, the device will be enabled to allow therapists to remotely monitor each patient’s progress and to develop customized programs.
The bedside tool has the potential to kickstart post-stroke recovery in the early days after stroke and to improve outcomes. Stroke neurologist Dr. Dar Dowlatshahi says he sees iRecover “moving seamlessly with the patient,” enabling feedback and data collection through the recovery process.
Within two years, researchers plan to begin a clinical trial of the iRecover tool at sites across Canada.
Development of the iRecover tool is funded by the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Institute, the Ottawa Hospital, the Ottawa Hospital Research Foundation, and the HSF Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery.
Researchers: Karen Mallet, Rany Shamloul, Dale Corbett, Hillel Finestone, Simon Hatcher, Jim Lumsden, Franco Momoli, Michel Shamy, Grant Stotts, Richard Swartz, Christine Yang, Dar Dowlatshahi.