Three hospitals globally have enabled patients to continue their rehabilitation remotely through the use of groundbreaking rehab technology, which was donated for use by its creators.
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) in London, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and Fondazione Don Gnocchi in Milan have all been given use of the Evolv Rehabkit, which allows the prescription of personalised telerehabilitation activities for people to complete remotely.
The initiative was a joint approach from medtech company Evolv, alongside Microsoft and ZOTAC.
The Evolv Rehabkit comprises a virtual therapy software platform called EvolvRehab, and the RehabKit hardware which connects to a television.
The system allows patients to perform exergames – video game-based exercises – which are prescribed by therapists who can remotely monitor patient adherence and performance through the system.
The NHNN is using the RehabKit in its Queen Square Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation Programme.
“We know that rehabilitation is vitally important for upper limb recovery,” says Professor Nick Ward, consultant neurologist who leads the programme.
“Repetitive training is one component, but it is often not motivating.
“We should be striving to create enriched environments for our patients to recover in, and the RehabKits are a great way of contributing to that in their own home.”
The Evolv RehabKit incorporates the Microsoft Azure Kinect DK, which uses computer vision and Artificial Intelligence to track patients’ movements, and a mini-gaming PC from ZOTAC.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform is used to securely host and share the experience, while Microsoft Teams allows patients and therapists to communicate quickly and easily.
Through the adoption of the technology, patients have been able to continue rehabilitation they would otherwise have potentially missed out on over the past year, jeopardising their longer-term prospects of recovery.
In New York, the Evolv RehabKits will be rolled out to a network of facilities for older adults, as part of a fall prevention programme supervised by the Abilities Research Center at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Fondazione Don Gnocchi, one of the largest not for profit organisations in the field of rehabilitation in Italy, plans to use their donated RehabKits to provide home care to patients with neurological conditions including stroke and Multiple Sclerosis.
“The pandemic has had a devastating effect across the world on patients receiving specialised rehabilitation, as well as on their families and care givers,” says David Fried, chief executive of Evolv.
“We wanted to help the medical professionals who are working tirelessly to continue treating their patients remotely under incredibly difficult circumstances.
“We are delighted that therapists can use our solution to provide telerehabilitation during this global crisis to support some vulnerable people in society directly in their own homes or out in the community.”
Quentin Miller, principal program manager for the Azure Kinect project at Microsoft, says: “We have an existing relationship with Evolv, so when they asked us if we wished to participate in this project, we didn’t think twice about it.
“Microsoft has been at the forefront of providing transformative solutions in the healthcare field providing remote services to patients during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hope to help hospitals use our technology along with that of Evolv and ZOTAC to help open the door to telerehabilitation and drive innovation in patient care.”
Tony Wong, chief executive of ZOTAC, adds: “As a technology leader in gaming and computer hardware, we were pleased to utilise our unique line of mini PCs in a collaborative solution to drive this amazing telerehabilitation initiative to help those in need.
“This opportunity to utilise our mini pc and graphics card engineering expertise to work in tandem with Evolv and Microsoft was a natural fit as many of our mini pc solutions power many other technologies behind the scenes and this was another example of that.
“We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this solution as it helps to improve the lives of those directly and indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and we hope this collaborative technology solution will continue to aid healthcare organisations and their patients in many other ways long into the future.”
Chroma expands services in two Voyage Care homes
Music and arts therapies will be used to help support the emotional and psychological wellbeing of residents
Arts therapies provider Chroma has extended its contract with social care and support provider, Voyage Care, to deliver creative arts therapy services at two more of its care homes.
Residents at Devonshire House in Manchester and Cedar Road in the West Midlands will receive music therapy (MT), neurologic music therapy (NMT) and art therapy sessions to support their emotional and psychological wellbeing.
During assessment procedures, additional functional needs were identified in some residents, so NMT techniques are also being incorporated to facilitate opportunities to work towards other goals in joint working with speech and language and physiotherapy.
Devonshire House, in Ardwick, Manchester is a 24-bed specialist brain injury rehabilitation service with three wings. Residents are either active rehab, slower stream rehabilitation or long-term stay. Therapists work with all three residential sectors across the three wings.
Cedar Road is a nine-bed residential care home for slower stream, long-stay residents who receive the support they need to enable them to develop and maintain their independence and cognitive skills following a brain injury.
The creative arts therapists use a range of psychological and psychodynamic techniques to support the expression of memories and emotions in ways that do not rely on words. The forming of a therapeutic relationship is key to enabling and empowering individuals to express their emotions, manage overwhelming feelings and to process traumatic memories, safely.
Both individual and group sessions are used depending on the needs of the people supported.
The creative arts therapists also support individuals to meet functional goals through NMT techniques including Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), which uses rhythmic speech cueing to encourage speech, Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) to help improve gait or Therapeutic Instrumental Musical Performance (TIMP) to prepare the body for functional movement.
Louise Houghton, ABI placements manager at Voyage Care, said: “Voyage Care is centred on social rehabilitation. The impact of loneliness and poor mental health, for care home residents, has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, which is why we are extremely happy to be able to provide these services within the already well-established multidisciplinary team and look forward to the positive impact we know it will make to our residents and their emotional needs.”
Chroma’s neurologic music therapist Claire Maddocks and art therapist, Jackie McVey, will deliver one-to-one sessions as well as support speech and language and physio therapists.
Claire said: “It’s exciting to have two arts therapy modalities in Voyage Care homes, and being able to incorporate them early on in a new home alongside the multidisciplinary team. It demonstrates the acknowledgement of the importance of arts therapies and the significant role they play in providing emotional and psychological support.”
Jackie said: “It is commonplace, in residential care homes, for long-term residents to experience loneliness to some degree and it’s important we do as much as we can to help reduce such incidences.
“Group therapy has proven itself a great way to promote interaction with others. We have previously delivered group music therapy sessions at Lorenzo Drive to help tackle loneliness, which was a resounding success so I have every confidence this art therapy group will too.”
Alongside one-to-one art therapy sessions, Jackie plans to create group sessions focusing on social interaction and social skills.
Since the arts therapies services began in September 2021, attendance to weekly sessions has remained consistently high, reflecting the positive impact sessions are having upon residents’ lives, both emotionally and psychologically.
Exemplar Health Care opens latest specialist care home
The complex needs care home in Pontefract also has a dedicated neuro-disability unit
Exemplar Health Care, a provider of specialist nursing care for adults living with complex needs, has officially opened its £3.4million state-of-the-art specialist care home in Pontefract.
Bennett Court, based on Ash Grove in South Elmsall, will be Exemplar Health Care’s sixth home in West Yorkshire.
The home supports up to 30 people and specialisea in supporting adults living with complex mental health needs, neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, spinal injuries and complex dementia.
Bennett Court has the expertise and facilities to support some of the most complex and acute individuals, who would often be in a hospital setting if not placed with them, enabling them to stay in the community and reducing hospital and secure facility admission.
Specialist nursing care for adults living with neuro-disabilities
Bennett Court has the facilities to provide specialist nursing care for people living with neuro-disabilities or neurodegenerative disorders.
The home has 30 large bedrooms, each with an en-suite, across three ten-bed units. All three units have the provision for bariatric care.
This small group living provides a homely and supportive environment, which is more responsive to people’s needs.
Lily Unit is a dedicated unit for those living with dementia.
And the home’s Poppy Unit is a male-only environment which supports up to ten adults living with complex health needs and mixed diagnoses, including neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities and those who have tracheostomies, ventilators and PEG feeds.
Being on the ground floor and with garden access rooms, Poppy Unit is ideal for those living with a neuro-disability.
Other facilities at Bennett Court
Bennett Court has communal dining and living spaces as well as a cafe, therapy room, salon and large accessible garden.
The home hosts a restaurant-style dining menu which is developed with service users at quarterly Food Forums.
This ensures that menus are varied, interesting and available to everyone, taking into account personal preferences, condition-specific and religious dietary requirements.
“It is extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs”
Speaking about the opening, Helen Lawson, Commissioning Home Director for Bennett Court, said: “I’m thrilled to have opened Exemplar Health Care’s newest home in West Yorkshire.
“This community-based home will provide person-centered care and rehabilitation that focuses on maximising independence, building everyday living skills, and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs, and to provide over 150 stable and local jobs for those wanting to be part of a new team where you can make a difference and every day better.”