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Telerehabilitation services for stroke.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 01 31; 1:CD010255.CD

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Telerehabilitation offers an alternate way of delivering rehabilitation services. Information and communication technologies are used to facilitate communication between the healthcare professional and the patient in a remote location. The use of telerehabilitation is becoming more viable as the speed and sophistication of communication technologies improve. However, it is currently unclear how effective this model of delivery is relative to rehabilitation delivered face-to-face or when added to usual care.

OBJECTIVES

To determine whether the use of telerehabilitation leads to improved ability to perform activities of daily living amongst stroke survivors when compared with (1) in-person rehabilitation (when the clinician and the patient are at the same physical location and rehabilitation is provided face-to-face); or (2) no rehabilitation or usual care. Secondary objectives were to determine whether use of telerehabilitation leads to greater independence in self-care and domestic life and improved mobility, balance, health-related quality of life, depression, upper limb function, cognitive function or functional communication when compared with in-person rehabilitation and no rehabilitation. Additionally, we aimed to report on the presence of adverse events, cost-effectiveness, feasibility and levels of user satisfaction associated with telerehabilitation interventions.

SEARCH METHODS

We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (June 2019), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (the Cochrane Library, Issue 6, 2019), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to June 2019), Embase (1974 to June 2019), and eight additional databases. We searched trial registries and reference lists.

SELECTION CRITERIA

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of telerehabilitation in stroke. We included studies that compared telerehabilitation with in-person rehabilitation or no rehabilitation. In addition, we synthesised and described the results of RCTs that compared two different methods of delivering telerehabilitation services without an alternative group. We included rehabilitation programmes that used a combination of telerehabilitation and in-person rehabilitation provided that the greater proportion of intervention was provided via telerehabilitation.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

Two review authors independently identified trials on the basis of prespecified inclusion criteria, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. A third review author moderated any disagreements. The review authors contacted investigators to ask for missing information. We used GRADE to assess the quality of the evidence and interpret findings.

MAIN RESULTS

We included 22 trials in the review involving a total of 1937 participants. The studies ranged in size from the inclusion of 10 participants to 536 participants, and reporting quality was often inadequate, particularly in relation to random sequence generation and allocation concealment. Selective outcome reporting and incomplete outcome data were apparent in several studies. Study interventions and comparisons varied, meaning that, in many cases, it was inappropriate to pool studies. Intervention approaches included post-hospital discharge support programs, upper limb training, lower limb and mobility retraining and communication therapy for people with post-stroke language disorders. Studies were either conducted upon discharge from hospital or with people in the subacute or chronic phases following stroke.

PRIMARY OUTCOME

we found moderate-quality evidence that there was no difference in activities of daily living between people who received a post-hospital discharge telerehabilitation intervention and those who received usual care (based on 2 studies with 661 participants (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.15 to 0.15)). We found low-quality evidence of no difference in effects on activities of daily living between telerehabilitation and in-person physical therapy programmes (based on 2 studies with 75 participants: SMD 0.03, 95% CI -0.43 to 0.48).

SECONDARY OUTCOMES

we found a low quality of evidence that there was no difference between telerehabilitation and in-person rehabilitation for balance outcomes (based on 3 studies with 106 participants: SMD 0.08, 95%CI -0.30 to 0.46). Pooling of three studies with 569 participants showed moderate-quality evidence that there was no difference between those who received post-discharge support interventions and those who received usual care on health-related quality of life (SMD 0.03, 95% CI -0.14 to 0.20). Similarly, pooling of six studies (with 1145 participants) found moderate-quality evidence that there was no difference in depressive symptoms when comparing post-discharge tele-support programs with usual care (SMD -0.04, 95% CI -0.19 to 0.11). We found no difference between groups for upper limb function (based on 3 studies with 170 participants: mean difference (MD) 1.23, 95% CI -2.17 to 4.64, low-quality evidence) when a computer program was used to remotely retrain upper limb function in comparison to in-person therapy. Evidence was insufficient to draw conclusions on the effects of telerehabilitation on mobility or participant satisfaction with the intervention. No studies evaluated the cost-effectiveness of telerehabilitation; however, five of the studies reported health service utilisation outcomes or costs of the interventions provided within the study. Two studies reported on adverse events, although no serious trial-related adverse events were reported.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS

While there is now an increasing number of RCTs testing the efficacy of telerehabilitation, it is hard to draw conclusions about the effects as interventions and comparators varied greatly across studies. In addition, there were few adequately powered studies and several studies included in this review were at risk of bias. At this point, there is only low or moderate-level evidence testing whether telerehabilitation is a more effective or similarly effective way to provide rehabilitation. Short-term post-hospital discharge telerehabilitation programmes have not been shown to reduce depressive symptoms, improve quality of life, or improve independence in activities of daily living when compared with usual care. Studies comparing telerehabilitation and in-person therapy have also not found significantly different outcomes between groups, suggesting that telerehabilitation is not inferior. Some studies reported that telerehabilitation was less expensive to provide but information was lacking about cost-effectiveness. Only two trials reported on whether or not any adverse events had occurred; these trials found no serious adverse events were related to telerehabilitation. The field is still emerging and more studies are needed to draw more definitive conclusions. In addition, while this review examined the efficacy of telerehabilitation when tested in randomised trials, studies that use mixed methods to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of telehealth interventions are incredibly valuable in measuring outcomes.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Flinders University, Department of Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Care, Flinders Drive, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 5041.Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Division Rehabilitation, Aged Care and Palliative Care, Adelaide, Australia.Flinders University, Department of Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Care, Flinders Drive, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 5041.Monash University, Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Melbourne, Australia.Flinders University, Department of Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Care, Flinders Drive, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 5041.The University of Sydney, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, PO Box 179, Missenden Road, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2050.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32002991

Citation

Laver, Kate E., et al. "Telerehabilitation Services for Stroke." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, vol. 1, 2020, p. CD010255.
Laver KE, Adey-Wakeling Z, Crotty M, et al. Telerehabilitation services for stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;1:CD010255.
Laver, K. E., Adey-Wakeling, Z., Crotty, M., Lannin, N. A., George, S., & Sherrington, C. (2020). Telerehabilitation services for stroke. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1, CD010255. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010255.pub3
Laver KE, et al. Telerehabilitation Services for Stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 01 31;1:CD010255. PubMed PMID: 32002991.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Telerehabilitation services for stroke. AU - Laver,Kate E, AU - Adey-Wakeling,Zoe, AU - Crotty,Maria, AU - Lannin,Natasha A, AU - George,Stacey, AU - Sherrington,Catherine, Y1 - 2020/01/31/ PY - 2021/01/31/pmc-release PY - 2020/2/1/entrez PY - 2020/2/1/pubmed PY - 2020/6/13/medline SP - CD010255 EP - CD010255 JF - The Cochrane database of systematic reviews JO - Cochrane Database Syst Rev VL - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Telerehabilitation offers an alternate way of delivering rehabilitation services. Information and communication technologies are used to facilitate communication between the healthcare professional and the patient in a remote location. The use of telerehabilitation is becoming more viable as the speed and sophistication of communication technologies improve. However, it is currently unclear how effective this model of delivery is relative to rehabilitation delivered face-to-face or when added to usual care. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the use of telerehabilitation leads to improved ability to perform activities of daily living amongst stroke survivors when compared with (1) in-person rehabilitation (when the clinician and the patient are at the same physical location and rehabilitation is provided face-to-face); or (2) no rehabilitation or usual care. Secondary objectives were to determine whether use of telerehabilitation leads to greater independence in self-care and domestic life and improved mobility, balance, health-related quality of life, depression, upper limb function, cognitive function or functional communication when compared with in-person rehabilitation and no rehabilitation. Additionally, we aimed to report on the presence of adverse events, cost-effectiveness, feasibility and levels of user satisfaction associated with telerehabilitation interventions. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (June 2019), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (the Cochrane Library, Issue 6, 2019), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to June 2019), Embase (1974 to June 2019), and eight additional databases. We searched trial registries and reference lists. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of telerehabilitation in stroke. We included studies that compared telerehabilitation with in-person rehabilitation or no rehabilitation. In addition, we synthesised and described the results of RCTs that compared two different methods of delivering telerehabilitation services without an alternative group. We included rehabilitation programmes that used a combination of telerehabilitation and in-person rehabilitation provided that the greater proportion of intervention was provided via telerehabilitation. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently identified trials on the basis of prespecified inclusion criteria, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. A third review author moderated any disagreements. The review authors contacted investigators to ask for missing information. We used GRADE to assess the quality of the evidence and interpret findings. MAIN RESULTS: We included 22 trials in the review involving a total of 1937 participants. The studies ranged in size from the inclusion of 10 participants to 536 participants, and reporting quality was often inadequate, particularly in relation to random sequence generation and allocation concealment. Selective outcome reporting and incomplete outcome data were apparent in several studies. Study interventions and comparisons varied, meaning that, in many cases, it was inappropriate to pool studies. Intervention approaches included post-hospital discharge support programs, upper limb training, lower limb and mobility retraining and communication therapy for people with post-stroke language disorders. Studies were either conducted upon discharge from hospital or with people in the subacute or chronic phases following stroke. PRIMARY OUTCOME: we found moderate-quality evidence that there was no difference in activities of daily living between people who received a post-hospital discharge telerehabilitation intervention and those who received usual care (based on 2 studies with 661 participants (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.15 to 0.15)). We found low-quality evidence of no difference in effects on activities of daily living between telerehabilitation and in-person physical therapy programmes (based on 2 studies with 75 participants: SMD 0.03, 95% CI -0.43 to 0.48). SECONDARY OUTCOMES: we found a low quality of evidence that there was no difference between telerehabilitation and in-person rehabilitation for balance outcomes (based on 3 studies with 106 participants: SMD 0.08, 95%CI -0.30 to 0.46). Pooling of three studies with 569 participants showed moderate-quality evidence that there was no difference between those who received post-discharge support interventions and those who received usual care on health-related quality of life (SMD 0.03, 95% CI -0.14 to 0.20). Similarly, pooling of six studies (with 1145 participants) found moderate-quality evidence that there was no difference in depressive symptoms when comparing post-discharge tele-support programs with usual care (SMD -0.04, 95% CI -0.19 to 0.11). We found no difference between groups for upper limb function (based on 3 studies with 170 participants: mean difference (MD) 1.23, 95% CI -2.17 to 4.64, low-quality evidence) when a computer program was used to remotely retrain upper limb function in comparison to in-person therapy. Evidence was insufficient to draw conclusions on the effects of telerehabilitation on mobility or participant satisfaction with the intervention. No studies evaluated the cost-effectiveness of telerehabilitation; however, five of the studies reported health service utilisation outcomes or costs of the interventions provided within the study. Two studies reported on adverse events, although no serious trial-related adverse events were reported. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: While there is now an increasing number of RCTs testing the efficacy of telerehabilitation, it is hard to draw conclusions about the effects as interventions and comparators varied greatly across studies. In addition, there were few adequately powered studies and several studies included in this review were at risk of bias. At this point, there is only low or moderate-level evidence testing whether telerehabilitation is a more effective or similarly effective way to provide rehabilitation. Short-term post-hospital discharge telerehabilitation programmes have not been shown to reduce depressive symptoms, improve quality of life, or improve independence in activities of daily living when compared with usual care. Studies comparing telerehabilitation and in-person therapy have also not found significantly different outcomes between groups, suggesting that telerehabilitation is not inferior. Some studies reported that telerehabilitation was less expensive to provide but information was lacking about cost-effectiveness. Only two trials reported on whether or not any adverse events had occurred; these trials found no serious adverse events were related to telerehabilitation. The field is still emerging and more studies are needed to draw more definitive conclusions. In addition, while this review examined the efficacy of telerehabilitation when tested in randomised trials, studies that use mixed methods to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of telehealth interventions are incredibly valuable in measuring outcomes. SN - 1469-493X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32002991/Telerehabilitation_services_for_stroke_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010255.pub3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -