Physiotherapy at a distance: a controlled study of rehabilitation at home after a shoulder joint operation

Lisbeth Eriksson, Britta Lindström, Gunvor Gard and Jack Lysholm

This study explored the benefit of video communication in home rehabilitation after shoulder joint replacement and compared it to referral for physiotherapy in the conventional way. A total of 22 patients were included in the study. The intervention group had training at home under the supervision of a physiotherapist at the hospital using videoconferencing. The control group had physiotherapy training in a conventional way in their home town. All patients had the same postoperative, three-phase-programme for two months. The telemedicine group received a greater number of treatments compared to the control group. After the intervention, there were significant improvements in VAS-pain, Constant score and SRQ-S for both groups. The telemedicine group improved significantly more in all three measurements than the control group. When changes from baseline to follow-up were compared, the telemedicine group improved significantly more in terms of decrease in pain and vitality than the control group.

Despite some limitations, there seem to be clear benefits from physiotherapy at a distance with a telemedicine technique that allows patients to obtain access to physiotherapy at home.

J Telemed Telecare 2009;15:215-220

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