Dorra Rakia Allegue , MSc , 1 , 2 , 3 , Dahlia Kairy , PhD 1 , 2 , Johanne Higgins , PhD 1 , 2 , Philippe Archambault , PhD 4 , Francois Michaud , PhD 5 , William Miller , PhD 6 , Shane Norman Sweet , PhD 2 , 4 , Michel Tousignant , PhD 5
21 May 2020
Exergames have the potential to provide an accessible, remote approach for poststroke upper extremity (UE) rehabilitation. However, the use of exergames without any follow-up by a health professional could lead to compensatory movements during the exercises, inadequate choice of difficulty level, exercises not being completed, and lack of motivation to pursue exercise programs, thereby decreasing their benefits. Combining telerehabilitation with exergames could allow continuous adjustment of the exercises and monitoring of the participant’s completion and adherence. At present, there is limited evidence regarding the feasibility or efficacy of combining telerehabilitation and exergames for stroke rehabilitation.
This study aims to (1) determine the preliminary efficacy of using telerehabilitation combined with exergames on UE motor recovery, function, quality of life, and motivation in participants with chronic stroke, compared with conventional therapy (the graded repetitive arm supplementary program; GRASP); (2) examine the feasibility of using the technology with participants diagnosed with stroke at home; and (3) identify the obstacles and facilitators for its use by participants diagnosed with stroke and stroke therapists and understand the shared decision-making process.
A mixed methods study protocol is proposed, including a randomized, blinded feasibility trial with an embedded multiple case study. The intervention consists of the provision of a remote rehabilitation program, during which participants will use the Jintronix exergame for UE training and the Reacts Application to conduct videoconferenced sessions with the therapists (physical or occupational therapists). We plan to recruit 52 participants diagnosed with stroke, randomly assigned to a control group (n=26; 2-month on-paper home exercise program: the GRASP with no supervision) and an experimental group (n=26; 2-month home program using the technology). The primary outcome is the Fugl-Meyer UE Assessment, a performance-based measure of UE impairment. The secondary outcomes are self-reported questionnaires and include the Motor Activity Log-28 (quality and frequency of use of the UE), Stroke Impact Scale-16 (the quality of life), and Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire (motivation). Feasibility data include process, resources, management, and scientific outcomes. Qualitative data will be collected by interviews with both participants and therapists.
At present, data collection was ongoing with one participant who had completed the exergame- telerehabilitation based intervention. We expect to collect preliminary efficacy data of this technology on the functional and motor recovery of the UE, following a stroke; collect feasibility data with users at home (adherence, safety, and technical difficulties); and identify the obstacles and facilitators for the technology use and understand the shared decision-making process.
This paper describes the protocol underlying the study of a telerehabilitation-exergame technology to contribute to understanding its feasibility and preliminary efficacy for UE stroke rehabilitation.