University’s stroke rehab work continues to grow with focus on assistive tech
The University of Strathclyde’s pioneering stroke rehabilitation work, which is supported by Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS), is developing new assistive technologies to improve rehabilitation outcomes for patients.
Staff and research students are harnessing the power of current and developing assistive technology to improve rehabilitation outcomes for patients, such as a treadmill with a harness to support those with balance or mobility issues and games with adapted controllers that help to recover dexterity.
According to the university, stroke patients have found the exercises very helpful.
As well as looking at assistive technologies to support stroke rehabilitation, the fifth group of 10 patients is now going through the university’s tailored eight-week rehabilitation programme, which uses a range of technology to improve movement and cognitive abilities.
It means 50 stroke patients so far have benefited from the programme and the innovative work led by Dr Andy Kerr, a senior lecturer in biomedical engineering and trained physiotherapist, and his team at the Glasgow institution.
Dr Kerr said: “There’s a lot of exciting things going on. We have been awarded a grant from Innovate UK to develop a digital pulmonary rehabilitation system, and work starts on that project in May. And we also have a new PhD student who is developing a collaborative game that will include a social aspect for users.”
CHSS is supporting the rehab project with an investment of £160,000 that includes funding for two occupational therapists to assess and work with the patients as they complete the program.
A third, part-time occupational therapist has also joined the team on secondment from NHS Lanarkshire.
Meanwhile, Dr Kerr’s team are working with CHSS and the NHS on establishing the technology-based exercise programme in community settings, such as gyms and leisure centres.
The programme is based in the university’s Sir Jules Thorn Centre for Co-creation of Rehabilitation Technology.
CHSS and the University of Strathclyde began work on the innovative stroke rehabilitation programme in 2021. The aim of the programme is to kickstart a revolution in stroke care by making rehabilitation technology accessible and to improve stroke patients’ lives.
Also currently carrying out research within the realm of rehabilitation technology is the University of Bath, which is aiming to dramatically improve support for amputees in need of a prothesis through speeding up the socket fitting process. Find out more about this interesting project here.