Beyond the Therapy Clinic: Exploring the Impact of Tech-Enabled Home Rehabilitation

By: Jess Royal, Clinical Trial Site Manager and Physical Therapist at BrainQ

Technology & Innovation

 Tech-Enabled Home Rehabilitation


Stroke is the third leading cause of disability worldwide. Growing evidence indicates that increasing the amount of structured therapeutic movements and exercises performed 1-3 months after the stroke may reduce stroke-related disability. Despite the importance of receiving community-based services such as outpatient physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT), less than one in three stroke survivors can access the therapy that they need. Access to these services is limited by financial challenges, lack of transportation, long waiting lists at outpatient clinics, and a lack of therapists specialized in treating individuals with stroke. Tech-enabled home rehabilitation is an innovative solution to address these barriers and connect stroke survivors to critical therapy services from their own homes. 

The Telerehabilitation Breakthrough

Telerehabilitation offers an effective and more inclusive model of recovery for survivors of stroke. Research suggests that telerehabilitation is not inferior to traditional face-to-face care. While providing similar results to usual care, telerehabilitation improves access to specialized services that may not be offered in rural or resource-limited settings. Tech-enabled home services can provide patients and their families with much-needed support, therapy, and education without the added burden of traveling to an outpatient clinic multiple times per week.

BrainQ’s Model of Telerehabilitation

The EMAGINE Trial uses BrainQ’s telerehabilitation system to provide support and structured exercise sooner and in greater quantities than the traditional care models used today. Many patients wait weeks to initiate community-based services after discharging home from the hospital. During this time, caregivers are left with the responsibility of assisting their loved one but many report feelings of helplessness, frustration, and fear of causing harm to the patient. 

BrainQ’s system of tech-enabled home rehabilitation helps stroke survivors and their caregivers bridge the gap between hospital care and community services. Within this model of care, sessions begin while the patient is still hospitalized. He or she and an identified caregiver receive extensive education on using the application and performing the exercises. Sessions continue throughout their recovery journey with periodic virtual check-ins from the study therapist, providing structure, familiarity, and consistency through an otherwise tumultuous time. 

This model of telerehabilitation greatly increased the amount of structured exercise people performed in the first 3 months after their stroke. In this time period where the quantity of therapeutic exercise performed can have major implications for recovery, BrainQ’s system increased time spent in performing these activities by 257%. Using traditional services available in the standard of care, patients averaged only 1.1 hours of PT and 1.0 hours of OT per week after returning home. By comparison, patients performed 3.3 hours of exercise per week using BrainQ’s home system.

Breaking Barriers and Embracing Progress

For stroke survivors, accessing community support and resources can be challenging; however, new technology has the potential to revolutionize the post-stroke journey. Telerehabilitation programs can be initiated within the hospital, reducing barriers to education and customized exercise programs. Platforms like BrainQ’s system are powerful tools that not only increase access to therapy during a critical window for motor recovery but also provide stroke survivors with the support they need, from the comfort of their own homes. This model of care may very well pave the way for significantly improved functional recovery after a stroke, offering newfound hope to countless individuals and their families. Tech-enabled care at home is proving to be a beacon of light for stroke survivors, breaking down barriers and empowering them to take control of their recovery journey. There is a brighter future possible, where stroke survivors can access the resources they need, when they need them.

Jess Royal is a skilled Physical Therapist and is currently supporting BrainQ's pivotal EMAGINE study for stroke recovery as a Clinical Trial Site Manager. With an academic foundation from Boston University and Emory University, her career has been marked by significant contributions to neurologic and stroke rehabilitation.