Brief introduction on Tele-rehabilitation guidelines
Long-term management of rehabilitation care and services on the territory may obtain great support and improvement by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT). More specifically, Telerehabilitation is now being called on to play an important role in improving the continuity and complementarity of rehabilitation care and services in particular for elderly and for the chronic management of patients affected by orthopedic diseases, pulmonary diseases, neuropsychological diseases like Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Brain tumors, Infections, Post-surgical diseases, Neurodegenerative diseases (Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Huntington), Psychiatric Disorders.
Telerehabilitation services may have great potentialities in matching most of the requirements of the clinical guidelines for long-term management of rehabilitation (see for example the UK Clinical Guidelines for long-term management of stroke patients: www.rcplondon.ac.uk); furthermore, not only they allow to extend rehabilitation treatment at home for as many patients as possible: they may also stimulate and allow the design of completely new rehabilitative paradigms, which is extremely challenging.
However, in order to implement well-structured telerehabilitation programs and foster optimal telerehabilitation use, standardization is mandatory. Thus, actions aimed at standardizing telerehabilitation practice i.e. delivering clinical evidence, defining clinical guidelines, and defining technical standards will surely help its broad implementation. In particular, methods allowing for the direct comparison between the telerehabilitation and face-to-face assessments are particularly important and should be always taken into account in the development of evidence-based guidelines.