Perspectives of Rehabilitation Professionals on Implementing a Validated Home Telerehabilitation Intervention for Older Adults in Geriatric Rehabilitation: Multisite Focus Group Study

Margriet Pol, Amarzish Qadeer, Margo van Hartingsveldt, Mohamed-Amine Choukou

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Owing to demographic trends and increasing health care costs, quick discharge with geriatric rehabilitation at home is advised and recommended for older adults. Telerehabilitation has been identified as a promising tool to support rehabilitation at home. However, there is insufficient knowledge about how to implement a validated home telerehabilitation system in other contexts. One of the major challenges for rehabilitation professionals is transitioning to a blended work process in which human coaching is supplemented via digital care.

The study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors that influence the implementation of an evidence-based sensor monitoring intervention (SMI) for older adults by analyzing the perspectives of rehabilitation professionals working in 2 different health ecosystems and mapping SMI barriers and facilitators.

We adopted a qualitative study design to conduct 2 focus groups, 1 in person in the Netherlands during winter of 2017 and 1 on the web via Zoom (Zoom Video Communications; owing to the COVID-19 pandemic) in Canada during winter of 2022, to explore rehabilitation providers’ perspectives about implementing SMI. Qualitative data obtained were analyzed using thematic analysis. Participants were a group of rehabilitation professionals in the Netherlands who have previously worked with the SMI and a group of rehabilitation professionals in the province of Manitoba (Canada) who have not previously worked with the SMI but who were introduced to the intervention through a 30-minute web-based presentation before the focus group.

The participants expressed different characteristics of the telerehabilitation intervention that contributed to making the intervention successful for at-home rehabilitation: focus on future participation goals, technology support provides the rehabilitation professionals with objective and additional insight into the daily functioning of the older adults at home, SMI can be used as a goal-setting tool, and SMI deepens their contact with older adults. The analysis showed facilitators of and barriers to the implementation of the telerehabilitation intervention. These included personal or client-related, therapist-related, and technology-related aspects.

Rehabilitation professionals believed that telerehabilitation could be suitable for monitoring and supporting older adults’ rehabilitation at home. To better guide the implementation of telerehabilitation in the daily practice of rehabilitation professionals, the following steps are needed: ensuring that technology is feasible for communities with limited digital health literacy and cognitive impairments, developing instruction tools and guidelines, and training and coaching of rehabilitation professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere44498
Number of pages16
JournalJMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023


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