As claimant brain injury specialists, Boyes Turner are keen advocates of the use of rehabilitation to expedite a person’s recovery following an accident.
At the same time defendants in personal injury claims are encouraged to provide suitable rehabilitative treatment to claimants to assist them in their recovery. To read our article on the Rehabilitation Code 2015 click here.
What rehabilitative options are available to injured persons?
Traditionally, rehabilitation involved adopting physical methods to assist in recovery, for example, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy treatment to aid muscle/strength recovery. One-to-one sessions with a counsellor or neuro-rehabilitation specialist were also used to assist with cognitive behavior therapy. Whilst these forms of rehabilitative therapy are still valid and in many cases the most suitable therapy available, they can take time, be expensive and not always convenient to the injured person.
In the modern era there is a wealth of technology available to assist rehabilitation specialists when providing rehabilitative therapy and also to allow patients to attend therapy at a time which is convenient to them and often in the comfort of their own home. This article discusses some of the technological aided rehabilitative therapies available to injured people.
Online exercise programmes and training diaries
Online applications (apps) can now be used for providing patients with exercise programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery. These apps provide the following benefits:
· Physical exercises can be easily demonstrated to the patient using helpful videos.
· Easy-to-understand information can be provided to teach patients about their posture, body mechanics and how the body repairs itself via physical therapy.
· The videos and information can be replayed or re-read a number of times by the patient to ensure they fully understand information. This avoids the problem of patients forgetting the instruction that they received during a time-limited in person
· Some apps have video recording facilities enabling the patient to record their training so that the treatment provider can analyse normal versus abnormal movement patterns in activities such as walking and running.
· The videos can also be used for research purposes to help evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.
· Many apps have a therapy diary which can be updated as the patient trains. This helps the patient to keep a track of their training and also allows their therapist to ensure they are complying with training requirements. Additionally, if the patient is making good progress, the therapist can upgrade the treatment program electronically without the need for an in-person appointment.
· Some apps use video games as part of the physical therapy training. The use of games makes training fun and motivates patients to take part.
· The use of these apps also provides a time and cost saving benefit to both the treatment provider and the patient, making rehabilitation more accessible, cheaper and less time consuming.
Apps can also be used for providing patients with neurological rehabilitation programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery. Examples of online neurological rehabilitation therapy include:
· Apps that are used to provide physical, visual and audible stimulation to patients requiring neural rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Again these apps can be monitored by neuro-therapists to monitor a patient’s progress and, if necessary, treatment programmes can be upgraded remotely.
· Apps that are designed to assist brain-injured people in living their day-to-day lives, such as apps that allow patients to follow checklists when using public transport or doing chores such as shopping. Family members or friends can also log in to these apps to provide ideas or support to the patient remotely.
· App users can talk to other patients with similar problems in online chat room sessions. This helps the patient to avoid feeling alone in their rehabilitation journey, reducing depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. A patient with a healthier outlook on life will be more receptive to treatment.
· As with the physical therapy apps, these apps provide time and cost saving benefits to both the treatment provider and the patient.
Technology assisted physical training
There have been developments in technology assisted physical training, for example:
· Anti-gravity treadmills are now available to assist with physical rehabilitation therapy and ambulation.
The benefit of these types of treadmills is that they greatly reduce the amount of weight placed on the patient’s lower body. This reduces pain and pressure on bones and joints whilst exercising and working on their gait.
· Underwater treadmills reduce pressure on bones and joints whilst also providing measured resistance which assists in recovery.
Many of these treadmills are fitted with underwater cameras which can help the treatment provider monitor gait and recovery and can also help to evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.
· Exoskeleton suits are available now to assist people with walking disabilities.
Boyes Turner work closely with a network of healthcare professionals and specialist rehabilitation organisations, which enables us to ensure our clients receive early support and rehabilitative intervention, to assist them in rebuilding their lives after serious injury. Our aim is to help our clients have the best chance of maximising their recovery and returning to a life that allows them to bring closure to what has happened to them and move on.
If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to no fault of their own and would like to discuss pursuing a possible claim for compensation and funding for rehabilitative treatment please call us on 0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.