Stroke is one of the world’s leading causes of disability.
But in good news for millions of people, a world-first app developed by a University of South Australia researcher and international partners is putting tailored therapies into the hands of those treating stroke patients.
The free ViaTherapy app is the result of a five-year project to make stroke rehabilitation guidelines more accessible to clinicians.
“ViaTherapy is a quick and easy decision-making tool for occupational therapists and physiotherapists, to help them provide the best therapy approaches for arm rehabilitation with their patients, based on their presentation,” says UniSA’s Dr Michelle McDonnell.
“We have guidelines to follow in Australia but they are very long and cumbersome and this app tailors the interventions to the presentation of the patient, in a way that the current guidelines do not.”
The ViaTherapy app internal algorithm analyses key information from clinicians, including how long it has been since a patient’s stroke, how severe their impairment is and whether they have any additional medical conditions.
It then offers a list of suggested exercises for the patient. This allows patients to decide which therapy exercises they should do.
“It also focuses on regular reassessment of the patient, because we know that recovery can occur at any time, and as soon as we see some return of finger movement then it opens up a wide range of other treatment options to help regain full recovery of the affected arm,” Dr McDonnell says.
Research to improve outcomes for stroke victims is only possible if we support our universities. To keep Australia clever, please sign the petition below.