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Stroke patients on tele-rehabilitation trials

SINGAPORE — Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are testing the effectiveness of rehabilitating stroke patients in their homes, by using technology to allow therapists to remotely monitor their progress and exercises.

SINGAPORE — Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are testing the effectiveness of rehabilitating stroke patients in their homes, by using technology to allow therapists to remotely monitor their progress and exercises.

The clinical trials, which started in December, mean that patients will not have to go for centre-based rehabilitation, overcoming barriers such as the inconvenience of travelling to and fro, and having caregivers take time off work to accompany the patient.

Principal investigator Gerald Koh is also hopeful that this tele-rehabilitation could be more cost-effective in the long-term.

He estimated that each tele-rehabilitation session costs about S$100, and while more expensive than a centre-based one, is still more affordable than a home visit by a therapist which costs between S$150 and S$250 per session.

Patients in the trial will be equipped with devices such as iPads that can guide patients in exercises using videos, capture physical data to help therapists assess their recovery process, provide immediate biofeedback and allow for videoconferencing between therapist and patient.

There are currently 13 patients in the trials, recruited from the Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital and the Singapore General Hospital. Each trial lasts for three months. The team hopes to have 100 patients undergoing the trials within two years.

The project received a research grant of S$750,000 over three years from the Singapore Millennium Foundation.

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