Research: In-Home Telerehabilitation for Post-Knee Arthroplasty – A Pilot Study

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of in-home telerehabilitation as an alternative to conventional rehabilitation services following knee arthroplasty. Five community-living elders who had knee arthroplasty were recruited prior to discharge from an acute care hospital. A pre/post-test design without a control group was used for this pilot study. Telerehabilitation sessions (16) were conducted by two trained physiotherapists from a service center to the patient’s home using H264 videoconference CODECs (Tandberg 550 MXP) connected at 512 Kb\s. Disability (range of motion, balance and lower body strength) and function (locomotor performance in walking and functional autonomy) were measured in face-to-face evaluations prior to and at the end of the treatments by a neutral evaluator. The satisfaction of the health care professional and patient was measured by questionnaire. Results are as follows. One participant was lost during follow-up. Clinical outcomes improved for all subjects and improvements were sustained two months post-discharge from in-home telerehabilitation. The satisfaction of the participants with in-home telerehabilitation services was very high. The satisfaction of the health care professionals with the technology and the communication experience during the therapy sessions was similar or slightly lower. In conclusion, telerehabilitation for post-knee arthroplasty is a realistic alternative for dispensing rehabilitation services for patients discharged from an acute care hospital.