Testing apps to help stroke and brain injury patients

December 4, 2017 by Amy Mcsweeny, University of Plymouth

Stroke and brain injury patients are being guided on the best choice of digital help thanks to students in the School of Health Professions at the University of Plymouth, in collaboration with a national network of healthcare professionals.

Alongside organisations including Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) and Livewell Southwest, students are clinically testing apps to see if they are suitable to be part of the mytherappy website – a database of clinically recommended developed by the stroke and neuro rehab team at NDHT.

The mytherappy website is an app review website that helps patients, carers and clinicians find the best apps to help with and recovery following a neurological disorder, such as a stroke or .

Now the collaboration will see undergraduate and postgraduate students test new apps on a monthly basis. They are joining mytherappy's national network of app testers, which includes clinical specialists in stroke, neurology and head injuries, therapists, nurses, psychologists, patients and carers. Apps that have been tested by the network and meet mytherappy's robust set of testing criteria are featured on the mytherappy website, which anyone can access.

Occupational therapy and physiotherapy students were the first students to be trained in how to test apps, with Ruth Siewruk, advanced practitioner occupational therapist for neuro and stroke, and Louise Holmes, both from NDHT, attending to deliver the session.

Louise, who is also a on the University's MSc Advanced Professional Practice Neurological Rehabilitation, said:

"There are a host of apps available to help patients through their rehabilitation after they've suffered a stroke or other brain injury – and our patients often ask us which ones are the most effective. So colleagues at the Trust set up mytherappy, where patients can see which apps are recommended by clinicians and other users. This is where the students come in – by using their theoretical and practical skills they can help analyse the apps' effectiveness for people at various stages of rehabilitation."

Amanda Denton, Lecturer in Neurological Rehabilitation, said:

"It's great that the University is collaborating on this project and we're pleased to be able to help and guide patients' choices. The training session was really helpful for our students and, as well as learning more about the technology available to help patients, they can also understand how the technology can help those delivering rehabilitation. The students are looking forward to testing apps over the course of the year."

The mytherappy website is having a global impact – with more than 20,000 users worldwide. Following a six-month audit of neuro patients at NDHT, 93 per cent of the patients who used apps said they would recommend mytherappy and app usage as part of their treatment. When comparing patients who used apps with those who didn't, the outcomes of those who used apps were improved by 10 per cent.

Ruth Siewruk, occupational therapist at NDHT and founder of mytherappy, said:

"I am delighted that students from the University of Plymouth have joined our testing network after training with us. We want to empower to manage their health in the way that is right for them, and the mytherappy website helps those who are recovering from a or brain injury to do exactly that."

Explore further: Smartphone apps—memory aids for people with brain injuries

Related Stories

Smartphone apps—memory aids for people with brain injuries

August 21, 2017
During Brain Injury Awareness Week, new research has emerged from Monash University showing that smartphone apps may actually help people with memory impairment from brain injuries, debunking earlier concerns that technology ...

Smartphone apps can be memory aids for people with brain injuries, and everyone else

July 12, 2017
Smartphone apps allow us to outsource remembering appointments or upcoming tasks. It's a common worry that using technology in this way makes our brain's memory capacity worse, but the reality is not that simple.

American Stroke Association offers new stroke rehabilitation toolkits

September 19, 2017
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), the world's leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, has developed new stroke ...

Tracking calories has never been easier

October 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Gone are the days of hunting through calorie and carbohydrate counting books to find the information you need to plan weight loss menus.

Smartphone apps launched for atrial fibrillation patients and their healthcare providers

October 10, 2017
Novel smartphone and tablet applications (apps) for atrial fibrillation patients and healthcare professionals have been launched by heart experts. The objectives and design of the apps are outlined in a paper published online ...

Ground-breaking app offering personalised rehabilitation programs for patients following stroke

April 13, 2017
Stroke is one of the world's leading causes of disability so a first-of-its-kind app that supports clinicians to develop best practice rehabilitation strategies for patients with arm impairments following stroke is good news ...

Recommended for you

New model suggests cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring possible using pulse waves

October 16, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in China and the U.S. has developed a model that suggests it should be possible to create a cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitor based on measuring pulse waves. ...

Why heart contractions are weaker in those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

October 16, 2018
When a young athlete suddenly dies of a heart attack, chances are high that they suffer from familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Itis the most common genetic heart disease in the US and affects an estimated 1 in 500 ...

Novel genetic study sheds new light on risk of heart attack

October 12, 2018
Loss of a protein that regulates mitochondrial function can greatly increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), Vanderbilt scientists reported Oct. 3 in the journal eLife.

Researchers say ritual for orthodox Jewish men may offer heart benefits

October 11, 2018
A pilot study led by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine suggests Jewish men who practice wearing tefillin, which involves the tight wrapping of an arm with leather banding as part of daily ...

Markers of dairy fat consumption linked to lower risk of type two diabetes

October 10, 2018
Higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research published today in PLOS Medicine. The study, in more than 60,000 adults, was undertaken ...

Seed oils are best for LDL cholesterol

October 9, 2018
If you want to lower your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, called LDL or, colloquially, "bad cholesterol," the research is clear about one thing: You should exchange saturated fats with unsaturated fat. If you want to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.