Telerehabilitation refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to provide rehabilitation services to people remotely in their homes or other environments. By using ICT, client access to care can be improved and the reach of clinicians can extend beyond the physical walls of a traditional healthcare facility, thus expanding continuity of care to persons with disabling conditions. The concept of telecare, when telerehabilitation is used to deliver services to clients in their homes or other living environments, empowers and enables individuals to take control of the management of their medical needs and interventions by enabling personalized care, choice and personal control. A wide variety of assessment and treatment interventions can be delivered to clients using remote monitoring systems, robotic and virtual reality technologies, and synchronized collaboration with online material. This chapter will present a brief history of telerehabilitation and telecare and offer an overview of the technology used to provide remote rehabilitation services. Emphasis will be given to the importance of human factors and user-centered design in the planning, development, and implementation of telerehabilitation systems and programs. The issue of self-care in rehabilitation and self-management will be discussed along with the rationale for how telerehabilitation can be used to promote client self-care and self-management. Two case studies of real-world telerehabilitation systems will be given, with a focus on how they were planned and implemented so as to maximize their potential benefits. The chapter will close with a discussion of obstacles and challenges facing telerehabilitation and suggestions for ways to promote its growth in use and acceptance.
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