ABLE Singapore provides home-based virtual rehab program for clients

ABLE - home-based virtual rehab program

Editor’s brief: Stroke and traumatic brain injury are often extremely challenging for the patients, and the journey towards recovery can take a long time. With the endemic still ensuing, center-based rehabilitation can be challenging for the patients. For some however, there may be a glimmer of hope to take some rehabilitation home, with the help of a home-based, virtual, game-based technology. This is provided by ABLE, a non-profit that supports persons with disabilities and their caregivers, in Singapore. Read more below.

Singapore – Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations Ltd (ABLE), a non-profit organisation that supports persons with disabilities and their caregivers, has launched a home-based rehabilitation programme using interactive game-based technology, with subsidies available for those who require it. This immersive web-based virtual rehabilitation solution is an add-on therapy for ABLE clients, allowing them to continue physical rehabilitation activities at home as part of their recovery programme.

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability with 63% of stroke patients having some disability during the first 3 months. In Singapore, 3.65% of the resident population has had a stroke in the past and there are 26 new stroke cases every day. Recovery depends on many factors, one of which is timely physical and occupational therapy. A rehabilitation programme can help one regain strength, mobility, and accelerate the possibility for patients to return to work.

ABLE “Return-to-Work” Programme

The ABLE “Return to Work” (RTW) programme offers a suite of rehabilitation services that include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, employment support, training and social work assistance, addressing the therapeutic, psychosocial and employability needs of persons with disabilities acquired from conditions such as stroke and traumatic brain injuries. The programme takes a holistic approach with the aim of helping persons with disabilities improve their independence in caring for themselves and finding gainful employment.

Located in Toa Payoh, the ABLE Rehabilitation and Training Centre is run by an experienced multidisciplinary team of healthcare, employment support, social service, and training professionals. Besides offering centre-based therapy, ABLE is now extending home-based rehabilitation as an add-on feature for clients.

Home-based Rehabilitation Programme with Jintronix Rehabilitation System

ABLE will be deploying Jintronix Rehabilitation System (JRS) , a tele-rehabilitation platform capable of fun and intensive rehabilitation. The platform combines traditional movements and exercises used in rehabilitation with virtual games and motion sensing cameras, making physical therapy more engaging.  JRS features a large library of 24 gamified activities, 56 exercises and 15 assessments that can help patients achieve higher compliance and better outcomes.  No more boring rehabilitation sessions as up to 80% of rehabilitation sessions are typically prescribed gamified activities.  JRS targets neurological and orthopedic conditions and can be used every day and at any time, further increasing patient convenience and access.  JRS uses a body free 3D camera and does not record videos or require face-to-face consultations.

Each exercise was developed in collaboration with physical and occupational therapists to ensure that the recovery programme is safe and effective. Therapists can customise a playlist of home-based training routines of up to 45 minutes per session, for each patient to exercise any time of the day, as many times as they desire within the month. Every time the patients use the system at home, they can get instant feedback for their performance. At the same time, therapists can track each patient’s progress, ensure that all exercises are performed correctly, and adjust difficulty levels based on feedback provided by the system.

Research findings show that Jintronix significantly improves patients’ physical activity performance, gait speed, engagement, and quality of life.

ABLE started using the system in the centre for a pilot run in 2018 and decided to use it in the centre in early 2019 after observing good outcomes during the pilot.  In collaboration with Wealth Springs Holdings, the distributor of JRS, ABLE is now launching the Home-based Programme to help clients in their recovery process.

“Wealth Springs Holdings installs and sets up the gaming computer and 3D camera, and provides technical support if required, while ABLE provides the therapists and subsidised monthly rental for those who require it.” says Marian Tan, Rehabilitation Manager, ABLE.  A patient would only need a monitor or TV screen and a stable internet connectivity.

“When patients are having fun, they’re motivated to push harder. This leads to improved endurance, more successful outcomes and improved family dynamics,” says Keith Koh, Managing Director, Wealth Springs Holdings Pte Ltd.

Patient’s Suitability Assessment

To determine a client’s suitability for this programme, a therapist from ABLE will conduct an in-person assessment with the client, where the client can try out prescribed activities on the system. Upon confirmation of suitability, the equipment will be set up and installed in the client’s home. The therapist will be able to adjust the difficulty of activities prescribed remotely and provide tele-consultations to make further adjustments to the home-based therapy programme when needed. This allows clients to continue with rehabilitation at home, at their own time, if they are unable to travel to the centre.

ABLE subsidises up to 80% of the actual cost of S$600 per month, which includes the license and rental of the system, and any remote adjustments to the home programme made by the therapist during the month. The amount subsidised is based on means-testing at the pre-assessment stage.