Design of Interactive Technology for Stroke Patient Rehabilitation

Publication Type:
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
This thesis explores the possibilities of using interactive technologies to deliver feedback to patients who are undergoing stroke rehabilitation. It was identified that unlike many other types of physical rehabilitation, stroke patient rehabilitation usually does not include interactive technologies which deliver feedback to patients about their performance. We also identified that there is a lack of interactive technologies which track a patient’s progress and performance improvements over time. Stroke rehabilitation therapies are by necessity repetitive, and as a consequence can be tedious for patients. Many Sydney-based hospitals are set up with equipment such as pegs, wooden blocks and manual hand counters which are useful for patients who are re-learning to manipulate objects and to complete everyday tasks. However, this equipment does not allow for easy identification of smaller day-to-day improvements. This thesis is divided into two parts. The first part has the aim of understanding feedback, motivation, and technology use in stroke patient rehabilitation. Observations of patients undergoing rehabilitation with their physiotherapists were conducted, as well as twenty-six interviews with patients and physiotherapists. The types of feedback that are most suitable for patients when performing their rehabilitation exercises were explored. Motivation was discussed with patients as they self-reported their fluctuations in motivation over time. Technology use was explored through interviews and observations with patients and physiotherapists. The second part reports a user-centred design process to explore feedback delivery to stroke patients using interactive technology. This included an iterative design process where different feedback types were designed and tested with five physiotherapists and twenty-eight patients. This resulted in an evaluated design that delivers feedback to patients in different modes and timeframes. There are three main contributions of this thesis. The first is a set of design criteria and tools for researchers and designers who are creating interactive technologies for stroke patient rehabilitation. The second is a set of findings exploring the use of technology-delivered feedback for stroke patient rehabilitation. The third contribution is the interactive rehabilitation system that was created to deliver performance feedback to patients. The main conclusion of this thesis is the clear potential for interactive technologies to deliver different types of feedback which can be personalised for patients depending on their situation. A further conclusion is the importance of having physiotherapists and patients involved throughout the development of new tools for the practice to ensure that the interactive technologies are designed to be appropriate for this context, easy to set-up and reliable.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: