J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2021 Sep 8;18(1):135. doi: 10.1186/s12984-021-00927-y.
BACKGROUND: There is growing interest in the use of wearable devices that track upper limb activity after stroke to help determine and motivate the optimal dose of upper limb practice. The purpose of this study was to explore clinicians’ perceptions of a prospective wearable device that captures upper limb activity to assist in the design of devices for use in rehabilitation practice.
METHODS: Four focus groups with 18 clinicians (occupational and physical therapists with stroke practice experience from a hospital or private practice setting) were conducted. Data were analyzed thematically.
RESULTS: Our analysis revealed three themes: (1) “Quantity and quality is ideal” emphasized how an ideal device would capture both quantity and quality of movement; (2) “Most useful outside therapy sessions” described how therapists foresaw using the device outside of therapy sessions to monitor homework adherence, provide self-monitoring of use, motivate greater use and provide biofeedback on movement quality; (3) “User-friendly please” advocated for the creation of a device that was easy to use and customizable, which reflected the client-centered nature of their treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study suggest that clinicians support the development of wearable devices that capture upper limb activity outside of therapy for individuals with some reach to grasp ability. Devices that are easy to use and capture both quality and quantity may result in greater uptake in the clinical setting. Future studies examining acceptability of wearable devices for tracking upper limb activity from the perspective of individuals with stroke are needed.
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