Can digital rehabilitation postpone the need for personal care?
Odense Municipality’s department of the elderly and disabled is currently working with the project 'DigiRehab', which aims to offer digital exercise to citizens, who only receive help with housekeeping.

Odense Municipality’s department of the elderly and disabled is currently working with the project 'DigiRehab', which aims to offer digital exercise to citizens, who only receive help with housekeeping.

A census from the department of elderly and disabled in Odense shows, that only a third of the citizens receiving housekeeping help has kept their level of function 30 months after their point of visitation. The remaining two-thirds become significantly worse over the same period, developing needs for intensified care and assisted living. Based on this rather unfortunate result, the department of elderly and disabled have chosen to initiate the project 'DigiRehab' (digital rehabilitation), which aims to offer digital exercise as a supplement to their existing cleaning help.

Thomas Ipsen, physiotherapist for DigiRehab states that "When a citizen no longer can manage to clean their own home, it can start a negative spiral, where the citizen gradually looses more and more level of function. With a simple exercise effort, hopefully we can maintain or even heighten the level of function of elders so they will not need intensified care so soon after their visitation - at least that is the desired scenario, which definitely is an advantage for both the respective citizen but also for the municipality".

Exercise via monitor backed-up by a physiotherapist
The exercise takes place via a monitor - most often a tablet, with a physiotherapist tied to the project to make sure that the exercises are done correctly, and that the citizen knows where, when and how they are supposed to do their exercises. The physiotherapist keeps track of how much the citizen exercises and makes statistics based on this. The physiotherapist is also available to answer questions, assist with technical issues and other eventual barriers.

Even though this could cause you to think that the digital solution would drive some elders away, it is not the case:

"The use of technology has in no way been a barrier. The citizens have been very happy with the exercise, and they find the videos very helpful to familiarise themselves with the respective exercises. Furthermore, they also feel a positive "obligation" because they know that I can see whether or not they work out" Thomas Ipsen states.

Facts about the project
The project started in April of 2019 and is running until primo 2020, and it is the plan that 100 citizens are to participate in the project. If the citizen does not have a suitable monitor, Odense Municipality will provide one.

The initial results show a significant improvement of the level of functions with the citizens who have been working out since April. It is however too early to draw general conclusions about the project's results. The project is designed so that it is the citizens living in the northern part of Odense who are being offered to use DigiRehab. This is so that when the project has ended, the results can be compared against a control group.

Hear more about digitally supported prevention and exercise at the WHINN conference November 19th - 21st
19th - 21st November, WHINN - Week of Health of INNovation is being held in Odense, with the theme 'Healthcare through future technology'. One of the five tracks is 'Homebased Healthcare', where there among other things will be focused on why there have been so few cases of large-scale implementation of digitally supported prevention and exercise, and what it takes for more to succeed. Meet among others Lolland and Viborg Municipality, who will be talking about their experience with digital rehabilitation across multiple digital platforms.

REGISTER HERE