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The effectiveness of telerehabilitation as a supplement to rehabilitation in patients after total knee or hip replacement: Randomized controlled trial

: Eichler, Sarah; Salzwedel, Annett; Rabe, Sophie; Müller, Steffen; Mayer, Frank; Wochatz, Monique; Hadzic, Miralem; John, Michael; Wegscheider, Karl; Völler, Heinz

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JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies 6 (2019), No.2, Art. e14236, 12 pp.
ISSN: 2369-2529
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FOKUS ()
aftercare; exercise therapy; home-based; Rehabilitation; Telerehabilitation; total hip replacement; Total knee replacement

Background: Telerehabilitation can contribute to the maintenance of successful rehabilitation regardless of location and time. The aim of this study was to investigate a specific three-month interactive telerehabilitation routine regarding its effectiveness in assisting patients with physical functionality and with returning to work compared to typical aftercare.
Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate a specific three-month interactive telerehabilitation with regard to effectiveness in functioning and return to work compared to usual aftercare. Methods: From August 2016 to December 2017, 111 patients (mean 54.9 years old; SD 6.8; 54.3% female) with hip or knee replacement were enrolled in the randomized controlled trial. At discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and after three months, their distance in the 6-minute walk test was assessed as the primary endpoint. Other functional parameters, including health relatedquality of life, pain, and time to return to work, were secondary endpoints.
Results: Patients in the intervention group performed telerehabilitation for an average of 55.0 minutes (SD 9.2) per week. Adherence was high, at over 75%, until the 7th week of the three-month intervention phase. Almost all the patients and therapists used the communication options. Both the intervention group (average difference 88.3 m; SD 57.7; P=.95) and the control group (average difference 79.6 m; SD 48.7; P=.95) increased their distance in the 6-minute-walk-test. Improvements in other functional parameters, as well as in quality of life and pain, were achieved in both groups. The higher proportion of working patients in the intervention group (64.6%; P=.01) versus the control group (46.2%) is of note.
Conclusions: The effect of the investigated telerehabilitation therapy in patients following knee or hip replacement was equivalent to the usual aftercare in terms of functional testing, quality of life, and pain. Since a significantly higher return-to-work rate could be achieved, this therapy might be a promising supplement to established aftercare.
Trial Registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00010009; web/ ID=DRKS00010009