Telerehabilitation: Assessing acquired neurogenic communication disorders online.
Telerehabilitation is quickly becoming an alternative service delivery option for the rehabilitation of neurological communication disorders, as evidenced in the growing number of institutions seeking to add this service to their current rehabilitation services. However, while speech pathology services are viewed as being particularly well suited to the telerehabilitation service delivery mode, there has been little validation of standard rehabilitation assessment tools used as part of telerehabilitation services in the field of speech pathology. Therefore establishing the reliability and validity of using standard assessment tools remotely is necessary to enable an evidence-based approach to telerehabilitation in speech pathology.
Adults with communication disorders as a result of stroke, traumatic brain injury or neurological disease are assessed using a custom-built PC-based telerehabilitation application. This application allows for real-time videoconferencing at 128 Kbit/s and the store-and-forward transfer of audio and video data between sites. The system also enables text and images to be presented to the participant and a touch screen is used to record some responses. Participants are assessed simultaneously in the traditional face-to-face environment and in the online environment. Both standardised and informal assessment protocols are used to valid the assessment and diagnosis of neurogenic communication disorders in adults across the Internet.