Project to evaluate providing cognitive rehabilitation treatment through telehealth

The Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute to study the feasibility and satisfaction with cognitive rehabilitation services delivered through a video-conference platform. This project included 27 individuals with traumatic brain injury enrolled in the Pennsylvania Head Injury Program. After 6 months of treatment, they provided feedback through surveys of usability of the TeleRehab system and satisfaction with treatment received through TeleRehab. Therapists also rated the system usability and reported on how the TeleRehab platform supported the delivery of various aspects of treatment.

The first phase of project concluded in July of 2021, and findings support the feasibility and potential benefits of Cognitive Rehabilitation provided via remote delivery. Most participants were able to connect to the video conference platform with only minimal technical assistance. Both clients and therapists found the platform easy to use. In fact, therapists indicated that they were able to accomplish even more than they expected during TeleRehab sessions. Client satisfaction with TeleRehab was also highly rated. Our findings offer strong support for the use of TeleRehab as a cost-effective alternative to home visits, which could expand service access to remote areas.  The second phase, currently in process, is a qualitative study to gather detailed information about how therapists used TeleRehab, including treatment tasks afforded by this mechanism of delivery.

This project was conceptualized prior to COVID-19 pandemic, with a view to expanding access to services for Pennsylvania residents.  It took on even more meaning and relevance during this time of barriers to in-person treatment. As a result of this project, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will continue to fund cognitive rehabilitation treatment provided through TeleRehab indefinitely.