Brain computer interface training for patients with severe upper limb paresis in the subacute phase after stroke – Therapists’ perpectives: A qualitative sub-study

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Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) use brain activity to elicit visual and / or motor feedback. They may provide sorely needed training alternatives for patients with severely impaired upper limb after stroke, where treatment choices are limited and unsatisfactory. In this study, we wanted to explore a) the feasibility of BCI training early after stroke and b) therapists’ experiences and satisfaction with BCI training.
This a qualitative sub-study of an ongoing pilot RCT to assess effectiveness and feasibility of BCI training in subacute stroke at a specialized neurorehabilitation hospital in Denmark. In this study, patients with severe upper limb paresis are included while admitted to subacute rehabilitation after stroke. The BCI system (RecoveriX, gtec, Austria) uses brain activity to control a functional electrical stimulation system for the upper limb and to provide visual feedback. To explore feasibility and user perspectives, semi-structured interviews were conducted with therapists who work with BCI training. Furthermore, feasibility was assessed by the number of patients recruited and retained, and the number of intervention sessions provided as intended. Systematic text condensation for thematic cross-case analysis was used for data analysis.
Five physiotherapists, experienced in neurorehabilitation, participated in individual interviews. In general, they experienced BCI training in the subacute phase after stroke as feasible and motivating for patients. They valued the ability of the BCI systems to provide intensive upper limb training and thereby new training opportunities for patients with severe paresis and paralysis. They also expressed that patients were focused and concentrated. Positive experiences were compromised by some initial technical challenges. Therapists emphasized the need to familiarize themselves with the system. All patients included so far reached the minimum number of 8 sessions with BCI training.
BCI training provides new treatment opportunities and is feasible early after stroke even for patients with multiple challenges. Therapists appreciate the motivating and intense training, which would not be possible otherwise.
TidsskriftNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2021
Begivenhed11th World Congress for Neurorehabilitation - Lyon, Frankrig
Varighed: 7 okt. 202011 okt. 2020


Konference11th World Congress for Neurorehabilitation

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