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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2012, Article ID 132719, 6 pages
Research Article

Managing Patient Factors in the Assessment of Swallowing via Telerehabilitation

1School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
2Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
3School of Rehabilitation Sciences, National University of Malaysia, Bangi Selangor 43600, Malaysia
4Speech Pathology Department, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Herston, Brisbane, QLD 4029, Australia

Received 28 May 2012; Revised 6 August 2012; Accepted 8 August 2012

Academic Editor: Velio Macellari

Copyright © 2012 Elizabeth C. Ward et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Undoubtedly, the identification of patient suitability for a telerehabilitation assessment should be carried out on a case-by-case basis. However, at present there is minimal discussion of how telerehabilitation systems can accommodate and adapt to various patient factors, which may pose challenges to successful service delivery. The current study examines a subgroup of 10 patients who underwent an online assessment of their swallowing difficulties. Although all assessments were completed successfully; there were certain patient factors, which complicated the delivery of the online assessment session. The paper presents a discussion of the main patient factors observed in this cohort including the presence of speech and/or voice disorders, hearing impairment, dyskinesia, and behavioural and/or emotional issues and examines how the assessment session, the telerehabilitation system, and the staff involved were manipulated to accommodate these patient factors. In order for telerehabilitation systems to be more widely incorporated into routine clinical care, systems need to have the flexibility and design capabilities to adjust and accommodate for patients with varying levels of function and physical and psychological comorbidities.