Telerehabilitation enables a remotely controlled programme to be used to treat motor deficits in post-stroke patients. The effects of this telerehabilitation approach were compared with traditional motor rehabilitation methods.

In this study it’s been made a randomized single-blind controlled trial with a total of 36 patients with mild arm motor impairments due to ischaemic stroke in the region of the middle cerebral artery. The experimental treatment was a virtual reality-based system delivered via the Internet, which provided motor tasks to the patients from a remote rehabilitation facility. The control group underwent traditional physical therapy for the upper limb. Both treatments were of 4 weeks duration. All patients were assessed one month prior to therapy, at the commencement and termination of therapies and one month post-therapy, with the Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity, the ABILHAND and the Ashworth scales.

Both rehabilitative therapies significantly improved all outcome scores after treatment, but only the Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity scale showed differences in the comparison between groups. Both strategies were effective, but the experimental approach induced better outcomes in motor performance. These results may favour early discharge from hospital sustained by a telerehabilitation programme, with potential beneficial effects on the use of available resources.

The treatments in this study were performed with our VRRS telerehabilitation system.