Stroke is perhaps the number one application for RehaCom software and it can be used even at the very early acute recovery stage.
A stroke can often affect functions such as memory, perception, ability to plan and make decisions and the ability to pay attention and concentrate. The impairment effect can be mild or it might be severe and it varies greatly from person to person. It depends on how severe the stroke was and the part of the brain that was affected.
If you do have cognitive problems after a stroke this does not mean you have dementia. Cognitive problems after a stroke typically only apply to certain areas of ability and can get better, whereas dementia is progressive, affects all the cognitive functions of the brain and typically gets worse over time.
There is good information available on the Stroke Association website and a downloadable leaflet on memory, thinking and understanding after a stroke. (Clicking the link opens a new window)
In order to deal with the effects of the stroke on the brain, two general approaches can be taken - a remedial or restorative approach or a compensatory approach. RehaCom is an example of a remedial approach because It aims to help the individual work to restore their ability and reduce the effects of the stroke on cognition.
Before tools like RehaCom, this approach would be implemented by a therapist and involve repetitive task performance. At one level you could say that RehaCom can make this whole process more intensive and effective. In an ideal situation a therapist can work with RehaCom to guide the user through the exercise. We think this is a good use of technology - as a tool. Tools are used to amplify what is possible for humans.
For example, once upon a time, people who typed letters for a living were afraid that because of word processor software they would not be needed anymore. In fact, these days everyone types - and the standard of typed material is far superior to what it was in the days of the manual typewriter. In the same way, RehaCom doesn't take away the benefit of a skilled therapist. It provides a tool to make cognitive rehabilitation much more effective with automatic recording of what has been done and what the outcomes are.
Of course some clinicians still debate whether it is possible for improvements in performance with the software to transfer into real-life, every day performance. In Germany, RehaCom has been used successfully for many years (since the mid 1980’s) and this debate has no relevance. It is very hard to produce research evidence that is truly robust in this field but clinical consensus of value is strong. You can see abstracts of relevant research papers here.