The authors conducted a pilot telerehabilitation study with post-stroke patients with arm motor impairment. They compared the degree of satisfaction of patients undergoing a virtual reality (VR) therapy programme at home (Tele-VR group) to satisfaction experienced by those undergoing the same VR therapy in a hospital setting (VR-group).

The rehabilitation equipment used a 3D motion tracking system to create a virtual environment in which the patient’s movement was represented. In tele-therapy, the patient equipment was installed in their homes, connected to the hospital by four ISDN lines at a total bandwidth of 512 kbit/s. Rehabilitation data were transmitted via one line and videoconferencing via the other three. 10 patients with mild to intermediate arm motor impairment due to an ischaemic stroke, were randomized into VR or Tele-VR groups. A questionnaire was used at the end of treatment to measure each patient’s degree of satisfaction.

Tele-VR treated patients showed median values equal to or higher than the VR group patients in all 12 items investigated, except one. In motor performance, the Tele-VR group improved significantly (P ≤ 0.05), while the VR group showed no significant change. Patients assigned to the Tele-VR group were able to engage in therapy at home and the videoconferencing system ensured a good relationship between the patient and the physical therapist whose physical proximity was not required.

This study used our VRRS System and VRRS Telerehabilitation system for the treatments.