It is estimated that there are 15 million new strokes each year worldwide and in the UK stroke is the leading cause of disability among adults.
For stroke survivors access to timely and skilled rehabilitation can improve recovery. However, with an NHS system under financial pressure and increasing demand being placed on rehabilitation services many Scottish stroke survivors fail to achieve optimal recovery.
As part of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute's Innovation 2016 programme, Dr Lynne Baillie leads a team aiming to reduce the healthy years lost to stroke through greater integration of technologies that promote patient centred functional recovery.
Earlier this month the 3rd in a series of workshops took place at the newly opened Scottish sports performance centre, Oriam. Designed to generate new thinking in the area of rehabilitation technology, the workshops have several aims:
- clarify user priorities
- place the user at the centre of the research
- develop a framework to evaluate and guide technology development
- form a network of stakeholders capable of influencing practice nationally and internationally
The one day seminar was attended by local, national and international stakeholders, including a range of policy and practice organisations such as Chest and Heart Stroke Scotland, the Stroke Association, Scottish Government and the NHS. After recovering from a stroke five and half years ago, Paul Hodson presented the stroke survivor's experience of technology and finished by saying "I feel valued and honoured to be asked to be part of this working group, you feel valued that you've had the input as a stroke survivor". He spoke of how he's using his 'second chance' to help as many other stroke patients and survivors as he possibly can.
Director of the Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies (ITT) research lab in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Lynne explains how this project aims to make a real difference to stroke survivors:
"Rehabilitation technologies ranging from mobile apps to advanced robotics can support efficient and effective delivery of rehabilitation. However, the integration of these technologies into mainstream practice has been slow and variable. Reasons for this include lack of familiarity, availability, cost, setup time and lack of evidence. Resolving this disconnect between technology development and implementation into practice will require innovation from developers, users and policy makers. Current models of practice need to be challenged if technologies are to be fully exploited for patient benefit".
This project is funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. You can find out more about it and the group's other research activities on the ITT website.