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Access to physiotherapy services in rural and remote areas

3 August 2015

Access to physiotherapy services in regional and remote areas is set to improve thanks to an innovative PhD study by QEII Hospital physiotherapist Mark Nelson.

The “Telerehabilitation Following Total Hip Replacement” study is investigating a telerehabilitation program for total hip replacement patients following hospital discharge.

Recruitment is currently underway for patients to participate in the study who are scheduled to receive a total hip replacement.

The study will investigate and follow the patient’s progress for six-weeks following surgery.

It will compare costs as well as a variety of physical and self-reported outcomes for patients undergoing the telerehabilitation program vs patients receiving usual care.

Mark is completing his PhD work alongside team members Associate Professor Trevor Russell from The University of Queensland, Professor Kay Crossley from La Trobe University and QEII Hospital's Director of Physiotherapy Dr Michael Bourke.

“Access to health care is a common problem faced by many Australians, particularly the elderly and those living in rural and remote areas," Mark said.

"If we can show that telerehabilitation can be used successfully in total hip replacement patients it will greatly improve access to physiotherapy for many of these patients and may open doors leading to the use of telerehabilitation in other health conditions.”

Rather than receiving traditional face-to-face physiotherapy sessions and performing exercises at home based off a paper handout, patients involved in the telerehabilitation program will receive their physiotherapy sessions remotely via a videoconferencing app specifically designed for therapy assessment and treatment.

They will also use an iPad app to facilitate their exercises where they can view videos of the exercises on the iPad and copy them.

“If we can show that equivalent results can be achieved through using telerehabilitation then I anticipate more patients from QEII will use this technology in the future," he said.

Last updated 15 September 2015
Last reviewed 15 September 2015

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