Background: Isolation due to a COVID-19 infection can limit activities and cause physical and mental decline, especially in older adults and people with disabilities. However, due to limited contact, adequate rehabilitation is difficult to provide for quarantined patients. Telerehabilitation technology could be a solution; however, issues specific to COVID-19 should be taken into consideration, such as strict quarantine and respiratory symptoms, as well as accessibility to deal with rapid increases in need due to the pandemic. Objective: This study aims to develop and to investigate the feasibility of a telerehabilitation system for patients who are quarantined due to COVID-19 by combining existing commercial devices and computer applications. Methods: A multidisciplinary team has identified the requirements for a telerehabilitation system for COVID-19 and developed the system to satisfy those requirements. In the subsequent feasibility study, patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (N=10; mean age 60 years, SD 18 years) were included. A single session of telerehabilitation consisted of stretching exercises, a 15-minute exercise program, and a video exercise program conducted under real-time guidance by a physical therapist through a video call. The system included a tablet computer, a pulse oximeter, videoconferencing software, and remote control software. The feasibility of the system was evaluated using the Telemedicine Satisfaction Questionnaire (TSQ; 14 items) and an additional questionnaire on the telerehabilitation system (5 items). Each item was rated from “1 = strongly disagree” to “5 = strongly agree.” Results: The telerehabilitation system was developed by combining existing devices and applications, including a pulse oximeter and remote control mechanism, to achieve user-friendliness, affordability, and safety, which were determined as the system requirements. In the feasibility study, 9 out of 10 patients were able to use the telerehabilitation system without any on-site help. On the TSQ, the mean score for each item was 4.7 (SD 0.7), and in the additional items regarding telerehabilitation, the mean score for each item was 4.3 (SD 1.0). Conclusions: These findings support the feasibility of this simple telerehabilitation system in quarantined patients with COVID-19, encouraging further investigation on the merit of the system’s use in clinical practice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation