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Stroke Telerehabilitation: Does it Really Work?

Stroke telerehabilitation

Stroke survivors often require frequent physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy rehabilitation appointments. Thankfully, more rehabilitation clinics are incorporating stroke telerehabilitation services into their program offerings to address transport concerns and other barriers, such as time constraints, resource limitations, geographical challenges, or compliance with traditional therapy models. 

This is the second article in a 3-part blog series exploring telerehabilitation for stroke recovery.  In this article, we will answer the question: Does stroke telerehabilitation really work?

Be sure to check out the entire series to learn more about what telerehabilitation is and how it works: 

What is Stroke Telerehabilitation?  

Telerehabilitation uses virtual technology with a computer or mobile device to deliver physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It increases patient options, provides services more efficiently, and helps individuals overcome geographical barriers to healthcare access. The virtual approach enables stroke survivors to receive remote rehabilitation therapy right in their own homes using familiar tools.

One of the most compelling benefits of telerehabilitation is its added accessibility. It eliminates transportation challenges and fits seamlessly into patients’ homes and routines. However, telerehab is not only about convenience. It is an evolution of therapy that can empower patients to participate actively in their recovery.

Each patient is unique, and their treatment should be, too. A teletherapist will customize therapy according to each patient’s individual needs. Personalization of treatment is essential in patient-centered telerehabilitation and in reaching optimal outcomes.

When home treatment is tailored to individual needs, the person can achieve greater effectiveness, engagement, and repetitions in rehabilitation exercises. Some patients even report a better experience with at-home therapy than in-person therapy.

Making The Most of Your Tools at Home

Stroke telerehabilitation uses stroke rehab equipment and technology such as neurorehabilitation devices, robotics, or virtual reality. These tools can provide real-time information that helps your rehabilitation team monitor and track your progress and adjust treatment plans.

Stroke recovery requires consistency and high repetition. Therefore, therapists may use high-tech neurorehabilitation devices so patients can experience an optimized blend of technology and personalized therapy. These devices provide immediate feedback to patients and therapists. Devices like Flint Rehab’s FitMi home therapy provide motivation and encourage consistency.

Additional tools, such as therapy apps, help motivate patients by increasing treatment adherence. Your therapy team will encourage you to practice your home exercise program between therapy sessions, and apps can be an especially helpful and fun way to do so. 

Between telerehab sessions, stroke recovery apps can help you get your daily therapy dose while keeping your recovery regimen fun and engaging to encourage consistency.

Telerehabilitation for Stroke Survivors: Does it Work?

You may think telerehabilitation for post-stroke care is new, but it came into the limelight in 1999, and patients have been using telerehab for over a decade. Telerehabilitation appointments are easy to set up, giving patients improved access to rehab professionals, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists. 

Individuals can connect with a therapist virtually to improve upper arm function, strength, balance, walking after a stroke, and more. Therapists can also create exercise treatment plans to improve fine motor, cognitive, and neuro deficits after a stroke. 

But you want to know: Does telerehabilitation really work for stroke recovery? Let us outline what the research shows:

Research in Post-Stroke Therapy

Studies have found that stroke telerehabilitation can be equally effective as face-to-face care. Like traditional in-person rehab, telerehab can help you recover from a stroke by improving arm function, leg function, independence, walking ability, and balance.  

A review of 13 randomized controlled trials showed that telerehabilitation may be as effective as usual care for improving motor function, ability to do daily activities of living, independence, satisfaction, quality of life, and other important outcomes after stroke. 

Therefore, you can feel confident that telerehabilitation is backed by research and can help you make meaningful progress in your stroke recovery, just like in-person rehab sessions.

The following sections outline additional areas of research into the effectiveness of telerehabilitation in post-therapy and patient and caregiver satisfaction. 

Research in Motor Function

Shifting the focus to home-based therapy helps to ensure that rehabilitation efforts are more relevant to the patient’s real-life needs and goals. During a telerehabilitation visit, therapists review and update exercises with the patients. 

At that time, the patient and therapist discuss progress, review exercises, and demonstrate and perform the exercises or activities together. Telerehabilitation programs are increasingly focused on helping patients achieve functional outcomes, such as performing everyday activities in their homes, rather than just improving physical impairments. 

Recent studies highlight that activity-based telerehabilitation works just as well on functional improvements post-therapy gains in arm motor function, not just for stroke survivors but also for those with spinal cord injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. 

Telerehabilitation has either better or equal effects on motor function, higher cortical function, and depression in patients, with significant differences observed in 8 out of 22 studies conducted in a recent systematic review. 

Research in Patient Satisfaction

Patients are satisfied with telerehabilitation, especially because of the added convenience. Moreover, the comfort of home-based sessions also strengthens adherence to stroke recovery treatment. Patient satisfaction is key in maintaining motivation, compliance to treatment and stamina in the recovery process after a stroke. 

Caregiver Benefits

As a stroke survivor, having a supportive caregiver by your side can make a world of difference on your journey to recovery. Telerehabilitation programs don’t just benefit you – research shows they also help your caregivers. Research reports that family caregivers benefit from telerehabilitation because it helps improve caregiver burden, knowledge, and competence. 

In the following section, we’ll share Katy’s inspiring story—a reminder that meaningful recovery is possible after stroke with determination and the proper support. We hope Katy’s tale of resilience will motivate you to keep pushing forward, one step at a time.

Katy’s Recovery Story

We understand that recovering from a stroke can feel overwhelming at times. But you don’t have to go through this challenging experience alone. Many stroke survivors before you have traveled this road and reclaimed their independence through perseverance and the proper care.

Reading their inspiring stories can provide motivation and hope for your journey. Whether your victory is opening a cabinet to cook for your family or climbing the stairs to sleep in your own bed, every achievement is worth celebrating.

Here is Katy’s stroke recovery story:

Meet Katy, a resilient stroke survivor committed to regaining independence in her daily life. Faced with the challenge of using her affected arm, Katy embarked on a journey of recovery with the support of her occupational therapist via Imago Rehab

Katy tackled a simple yet significant goal—opening her kitchen drawer using her affected arm. With consistency and repetition, she practiced and translated these movements through virtual guidance into her routine, marking a triumph for her and telerehabilitation methodology. 

This achievement symbolizes a personal victory for Katy and underscores the potential of telerehabilitation in empowering stroke survivors on their path to independence.

Understanding Stroke Telerehabilitation 

Telerehabilitation is a profound shift in how recovery happens. Its effectiveness is validated by science, celebrated by patients, and driven by the human touch of expert therapists guiding each session virtually. Deciding if telerehab is right for you depends on a few factors such as your comfort with technology and the type of interaction you prefer with your therapists.

Want to learn more about Post-Stroke Remote Rehab with Imago Rehab? Get Started Here.
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Get Inspired with This Stroke Survivor Story

Mom gets better every day!

“When my 84-year-old Mom had a stoke on May 2, the right side of her body was rendered useless. In the past six months, she has been blessed with a supportive medical team, therapy team, and family team that has worked together to gain remarkable results.

While she still struggles with her right side, she can walk (with assistance) and is beginning to get her right arm and hand more functional. We invested in the FitMi + MusicGlove + Tablet bundle for her at the beginning of August.

She lights up when we bring it out and enjoys using it for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time. While she still doesn’t have enough strength to perform some of the exercises, she rocks the ones she can do! Thanks for creating such powerful tools to help those of us caring for stroke patients. What you do really matters!”

-David H.

FitMi is a neurorehab device that you can use from the comfort of home. It works by motivating you to accomplish high repetition of therapeutic exercises.

As you work through the program, you’ll unlock more difficult exercises when you’re ready. It’s like having a virtual therapist available anytime you need it.

See how quickly Sudhir was able to notice improvements:

Saw results within a few days

“I bought FitMi about a month and a half ago. Quite impressed with the range of exercises for hand, arm, leg and foot. I suffered a stroke about 2 years ago which paralyzed my right side. I do walk now with a cane or walker, but my right hand curls up and my right arm is also weak. Within a few days of trying it out, I could note a distinct improvement in stamina before tiring. So, I am looking forward to continued improvement.”


Not only is FitMi approved by survivors, but it’s also approved by therapists, too. FitMi is used in some of the top clinics in the world, including the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, the #1 ranked rehab hospital in America. Plus, two PTs on YouTube with over 3 million subscribers (you may know them as Bob & Brad) gave FitMi the thumbs up, too.

To learn more about this motion-sensing, game-changing recovery tool, click the button below: