Telerehabilitation is perceived as safe and effective in improving physical condition by people with hemophilia, a new study published in Musculoskeletal Science & Practice found. The main disadvantage perceived by patients was the lack of face-to-face supervision and physical examination.

“The findings underscored that telerehabilitation had high satisfaction among [people with hemophilia],” the researchers wrote, adding that it “could be further supported and improved.”

Telerehabilitation was implemented for patients with severe hemophilia in Chile during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, a team of researchers led by Carlos Cruz-Montecinos from the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Chile in Santiago described the usefulness, safety, effectiveness, and limitations of telerehabilitation.


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They reported that one of the most important aspects of telerehabilitation was the sense of safety of being “seen” by a physiotherapist specializing in hemophilia, according to all participants. This sense of safety increased trust and treatment adherence. Telerehabilitation also led to improvements in the physical condition and sense of well-being among all participants.

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The disadvantages of telerehabilitation included “the lack of adequate equipment at home, the limited length of the sessions, the perception that the physiotherapist may not be able to perform an appropriate physical examination, and the lack of direct supervision,” the researchers said.

Based on these findings, the researchers proposed that telerehabilitation could be extended to remote and rural areas where there are great inequalities in terms of access to rehabilitation and that the findings of this study could help improve telerehabilitation programs for people with hemophilia outside of Chile.

People with hemophilia often experience arthropathy, which is characterized by changes in muscles and bones and chronic pain affecting functionality and quality of life. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are often recommended to reduce this pain, increase range of motion and physical function, and reduce joint deterioration.

Reference

Aliaga-Castillo V, Horment-Lara G, Contreras-Sepúlveda F, Cruz-Montecinos C. Safety and effectiveness of telerehabilitation program in people with severe haemophilia in Chile. A qualitative study. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. Published online April 14, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2022.102565