Helping patients recover after a stroke is always a challenge for occupational therapists, particularly when it comes to making sure their patients are having their specific, personal needs met. Care is not one-size-fits-all, and recovery can become much quicker and more effective if it is personalised.
To assist with this, a team of researchers is developing technology to assess the specific needs of patients who have suffered an acute stroke. The team, from Kaunas University of Technology, is using a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality and physiological sensors to gather unique data from each subject.
Darius Jegelevicius, the leader of the project, said: “Our system registers and uses entirely new functional parameters, which allows implementing the personalised rehabilitation solutions.”
To use this technology, a patient is given goggles that allow them to see in virtual or augmented reality, and fitted with sensors to measure heart rhythm, neurological activity, visual feedback and hand movements. The patient’s reaction to tests given through the goggles then help to determine the best recovery strategy.
While the software contains algorithms for determining the best rehabilitation model, the technology is intended to be used for evaluation and recommendation only. Doctors and occupational therapists would look at the data and work out what the best personalised care plan would be.
However, this technology will not be available for a little while. The researchers intend to have a prototype released in 2020, and further testing will be needed before it can be made more widely available. Nevertheless, it provides an excellent example of how innovation can help improve occupational therapy in this area.
Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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