Telerehabilitation allows patients to interact with providers remotely and can be used both to assess patients and to deliver therapy. It is a significant part of my research program encompassing several clients’ profiles and technological approaches, including virtual-reality based in-home telerehabilitation programs (Home PSP), tablet-based in-home telerehabilitation for Indigenous populations, and a hand telerehabilitation platform for people with chronic stroke (iManus). Telerehabilitation is particularly in demand nowadays due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health restrictions. In addition to my work on telerehabilitation on chronic stroke patient, I am particularly sensitive to addressing the needs of people living in remote areas and Indigenous communities who, in addition to having less access to digital health, experience isolation which impedes their access to health care. For this purpose, we have developed a tablet-based in-home
telerehabilitation program for Indigenous older adults and those living with dementia and residing on reserve. The app is available in English and Ojibwe to serve Indigenous people in their own language.
Active @ Home Program
Active@Home program is designed with the physical and cognitive rehabilitation of stroke survivors as the primary aim of the rehabilitation program. The Home PSP program is delivered to participants in two ways. One is an interactive mobile app available through tablets. The other delivery method uses virtual reality technology, with participants taking part in physical and cognitive training sessions alternately throughout the program. During the physical rehabilitation, a virtual coach delivers the program in a 3-month, progressive exercise program. This program includes resistance training, balance training, and stretching. The cognitive aspect of training is a simulated virtual reality environment, with activities for stroke participants to complete. The activities resemble scenarios we encounter during daily life, both in and outside the home. The expectations of Home PSP are to guide stroke survivors towards regaining an increased level of physical and cognitive abilities following a stroke. Physical and cognitive performance are variably affected following a stroke, depending on the individual. Home PSP is designed with this consideration as a top priority.
I’m pleased to congratulate Dr. Choukou.”... “The road of recovery and rehabilitation following a stroke can be incredibly challenging for patients, particularly those who don’t have ready access to support services. Dr. Choukou’s research into VR-based rehabilitation has great potential to support stroke patients and a health-care system that is stretched.
in-home hand telerehabilitation platform
iManus emerged from 3 years R&D, which focused on finding better approaches to enable the delivery of home hand telerehabilitation via easy-to-use technology to individuals living in rural, remote and underserved areas who experienced a stroke. This development became even more interesting as we faced COVID-19 restrictions all over the globe during the pandemic; providing telerehabilitation is very needed in these unprecedented times. iManus consists of a pair of sensorized gloves and therapeutic equipment shipped to the patient’s home that uses a mobile app interface for the patient to connect to a therapist. The app includes therapeutic content validated by therapists.
A mobile application for training of family caregivers caring for someone with dementia
Caregiving for patient with dementia is a stressful responsibility. An app is under development in our labs to support the communication skills needed to interact with patient with dementia. No one has these skills before being confronted for the first time to the situation of caring after someone with dementia. The app is designed by caregivers for caregivers and will be available on Apple Store and Google Play after validation work. It is expected to reduce the caregiver burden and increase the quality of life of families who care for a beloved one with dementia.
A low-cost camera-based monitoring system for dementia care
A platform for posture and body language recognition in persons with dementia that send alerts to care providers when required. The platform will allow for capturing and recognizing the residents’ posture and body language, without breaching their privacy, to identify high-risk personal and interpersonal behaviours (e.g. agitation, fighting with other residents). Identified behaviours will be transmitted to care providers as alerts to help the patient get out of unsafe situations.
A telepresence-robot-based program is underway, aiming to promote communication between persons living with mild dementia and their family caregiver(s). This project aims to determine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of using telepresence robots as a means of maintaining contact between persons living with dementia and their informal caregivers. Although the project was designed before the pandemic, its benefits became imminent as demonstrated by the high volume of calls received from families willing to enroll in our study. The telepresence project set an example of how connections to community and local institutions and businesses can be a successful way of conducting research. We are currently working on developing a telepresence-based rehabilitation platform capable of
screening and monitoring clients' biosignals remotely.