14 cover story While more research needs to be conducted, Voelbel said that these advancements cannot be accomplished without the collaboration of engineers and rehab professionals from all spectrums, including audiologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. “Engineers typically don’t understand what needs to be done for rehabilitation. They know how to build and program, but it’s the rehab specialists that understand how to improve and assess human functions,” he said. Even though rehab professionals are using technology, Voelbel questions the amount of clinical evidence to demonstrate that these tools are actually helpful. “I want to provide evidence that this does work, but we don’t know if it works for everybody, and there are so many questions we haven’t answered yet,” Voelbel said. “It’s so brand-new. The evidence needs to be proven before we can start using it as a treatment modality. We need research, and we need research between + ONLINE EXTRA REHAB INSIDER Q&A How should rehab practice owners prepare for 2017? Thought leaders across specialties weighed in. Visit www.advanceweb.com/pt and look for the Q&A box. clinicians and scientists.” Those working with patients who are finding their voice also have an array of applications that can be used on tablets and other devices. Heather L. Cappel, MA, CCC-SLP, at Orlando Regional Medical Center, regularly uses tablet apps for therapy, to explain swallowing disorders and to provide augmentative and alternative communications (AAC). Patients can use the gaze of their eye to direct the use of the app if they are not able to use their arm or fingers. “When you’re in a hospital, the environment tends to be pretty sterile. But in real life, we’re very dependent on technology,” Cappel said. “It helps to break up the monotony while trying to reach those goals. When you bring a device in front of them, it increases buy-in and you get more participation.” Cappel believes that eye-gaze technology is an up-and-coming innovation for rehab professionals and one of Orlando Medical Center’s biggest initiatives; however, there needs to be more research to prove the need for it. Her hope is to have this technology available to all patients that require it to communicate with their doctors and family. Technology can never replace the need for quality rehabilitation. Behind impressive equipment lies the expert opinion and guidance of rehabilitation professionals across all areas. Collaboration with engineers and developers as well as acceptance of this progression can provide innovative healthcare for patients with a wide range of conditions, deficits and disorders. JANUARY 2017 | REHAB INSIDER A Short Leg Caused By: Hip or Knee Replacement, Fracture of Lower Extremity, Or Other Lower Extremity Issues, Can Diminish Their Quality of Life. Our Products Can Help Them: Rehab Better, Walk better, And Feel Better. Heel Lift, Inc. www.gwheellift.com 1.800.235.4387 Help Your Patients Contact us for information, catalogs, or samples.
REHAB INSIDER • January 2017 Vol.1 No.1
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