Attitudes towards a sensor-feedback technology in gait rehabilitation of patients after stroke

Marianne Nieboer*, Li-juan Jie, Lydia Willemse, Sebastiaan Peek, Susy Braun, Eveline Wouters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: 

Intensive gait training is important for effective rehabilitation of people after stroke. “Stappy” is a sensor-feedback system that provides real-time feedback on the persons gait pattern/performance during training. The main aim of this study was to assess attitudes towards “Stappy” in people after stroke to practise walking performance independently at home. 

Methods: 

Demographics were collected. Frequency of practice with “Stappy” was monitored through the system. Participants used “Stappy” at home for two weeks. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore patient experiences with “Stappy” afterwards. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Seventeen people after stroke (13 males, mean age 65, 17 to 172 months after stroke) were interviewed. There was a large variability (ranging from 0 to 14 days) in frequency of use over the two-week period. Although, thirty-eight percent were non-users, participants seemed satisfied about the option of feedback of the system on people’s gait pattern. Moderate to frequent users reported the ability to integrate “Stappy” into daily walking and the presence of support by the social environment as important factors for use. 

Conclusion: 

In a sub sample of stroke patients the ability to receive real-time feedback during practice about walking performance at home was viewed positively. Six participants did not or hardly used the sensor-feedback technology, even though they were positive about potential benefits. This implies that mHealth is not eligible for all individuals. To improve adherence various considerations were derived from this study, that may further optimise the frequency and personalise the use of the technology.

Implication for rehabilitation 

The frequency of use of a sensor-feedback technology in gait rehabilitation varied a lot in a cross-sectional sample of people after stroke. Patients after stroke seemed to have a positive attitude towards a sensor-feedback technology to support unsupervised practice of walking. However, this was unrelated to whether they had used or had not used the technology. Moderate and frequent users of the sensor-feedback technology reported the ability to integrate sensor-feedback technology in daily life and social support as important factors for use. For clinical practice in gait rehabilitation it is important to screen which patients are capable to use and may benefit from a technology as the one used in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

Keywords

  • BARRIERS
  • CARE
  • EXERCISE
  • FACILITATORS
  • Gait
  • OLDER-ADULTS
  • PEOPLE
  • PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY
  • SYSTEM
  • TRENDS
  • attitudes
  • rehabilitation
  • sensor-feedback
  • stroke

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