REHACARE.com asked the RehaCentrum Hamburg about the advantages of robot-assisted therapy in the rehabilitation sector and inquired how well human-machine interaction works in everyday rehabilitation.
Dr. Bender, you are the Medical Director and Chief Physician of the Neurological Rehabilitation Department at the RehaCentrum Hamburg. How has rehabilitation changed in recent years?
Dr. Gabriele Bender: Neurological rehabilitation has rapidly gained importance over the past few years. This is primarily due to therapeutic advances in neurology and neurological rehabilitation, as well as the rising number of patients. Neurological rehabilitation has recognized the significance of neuroplasticity in the implementation of therapeutic concepts. This is why new therapeutic solutions and particularly technical processes or robot-assisted systems were further developed and increasingly introduced in rehabilitation facilities. In addition to traditional methods like the Bobath concept, PNF, Vojta, and other well-known techniques, rehabilitation facilities now increasingly add device-assisted therapies and therapeutic circuit training with repetitive task training.
Have patient expectations of respective rehabilitation measures changed?
Dr. Bender: Neurological patients have become better informed and are more discerning. That being said, family members often also become involved in the rehabilitation process right from the start. Prior to their rehabilitation session, both patients and family members can obtain information thanks to new media such as web presence of clinical facilities and available online information. Nevertheless, expectations of rehabilitation patients are often too high and unrealistic. Many patients think they will be completely recovered or much better after rehabilitation. However, this is often unattainable due to the severity of a neurological disorder. Many neurological disorders require continued outpatient treatment over several months or years even after patients have undergone rehabilitation.