Home therapy to improve arm and hand function after brain injury in New Zealand

Over 30,000 New Zealanders have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Added to this only 11 per cent of people with stroke receive any rehabilitation therapy after they leave hospital.

Because of this the Health Research council of New Zealand have awarded two grants to physical therapists from  The University of Auckland who will use technologies to treat and support brain injury patietns including stroke after discharge from in patient therapy. Firstly, Dr Kersten and her team will train people in the community who have had a TBI in the past to act as mentors or peer mentors for people with a recent moderate to severe TBI. Participation is considered a fundamental outcome of rehabilitation for people with TBI,” Dr Kersten says.
A second project lead by Dr Stinear will evaluate a new home-coach model of therapy for stroke survivors. In New Zealand, only 11 per cent of people with stroke receive any rehabilitation therapy after they leave hospital. This is despite research that shows rehabilitation therapy is capable of improving hand and arm function months or years after stroke. Dr James Stinear from The University of Auckland says “There are tens of thousands of people living with stroke in our community who have an untapped capacity to recover,” explains Dr Stinear and the objective of this study is to test and design a ‘home-therapy’ protocol.”
After a physiotherapist has assessed the therapy needs of a person with stroke a family member, carer, friend or other volunteer will act as a ‘home-coach’ to deliver daily therapy in the home.
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