It is estimated that there are 15 million new strokes each year worldwide. In the UK stroke is the leading cause of disability among adults. For stroke survivors access to timely and skilled rehabilitation can improve recovery. However, with an NHS system under financial pressure and increasing demand being placed on rehabilitation services many Scottish stroke survivors fail to achieve optimal recovery. Rehabilitation technologies ranging from mobile apps to advanced robotics, can support efficient and effective delivery of rehabilitation. The integration of these technologies into mainstream practice, however, has been slow and variable. Reasons for this include lack of familiarity, availability, cost, setup time and lack of evidence. Resolving this disconnect between technology development and implementation into practice will require innovation from developers, users and policy makers. Current models of practice need to be challenged if technologies are to be fully exploited for patient benefit.
This aim of this programme was to identify user priorities for rehabilitation technology, generate new thinking in this area and create a coherent network of stakeholders to continue the work. The team worked towards the following objectives:
1. Identify user (patients, carers and healthcare professionals) priorities for rehabilitation technology.
2. Develop a user-perspective evaluation framework for current/future technologies.
3. Establish a network of users, developers and policy-makers to progress the rehabilitation agenda and influence practice.
To meet these objectives, three one-day seminars inviting local, national and international stakeholders were organised, with the first two seminars preceded by a questionnaire of the wider community to ensure broad engagement and to prime the seminar discussions.