New robotic technologies offer the opportunity to produce increasingly advanced tools for the rehabilitation of people with reduced motor function. But how much do the current lines of research actually reflect the needs of patients? To answer this question, a group of experts in technology-assisted rehabilitation, in collaboration with representatives of patient associations, has designed a survey to identify primary rehabilitation needs related to the various types of disability through the involvement of patients and caregivers.
The initiative is part of Mission 1, Clinical Translation & Innovation, of the Fit for Medical Robotics (Fit4MedRob) project coordinated by the National Research Council (CNR) and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa and supported by the Italian Government within the framework of the National Plan for Complementary Investments to the NRRP. The project, which has received €128 million of funding, involves 25 partners including Universities, research centres, IRCCS and clinical centres, industrial entities.
“Italy is a country at the forefront in the field of bioengineering of rehabilitation and Fit4MedRob is the right initiative at the right time to try to bridge the gap between research and the market. Understanding in depth the needs of the actors involved, starting with the patients, is necessary in order to design, from the earliest stages, systems capable of providing clinically and socially valid, as well as economically sustainable, answers,” said Christian Cipriani, professor at Sant’Anna and scientific director of the initiative.
Fit4MedRob aims to revolutionize current rehabilitation and assistive models for people of all ages with reduced or absent motor, sensory or cognitive function through the use of new bionic and biorobotic digital technologies, as well as continuum of care paradigms that can take advantage of the novel technologies at all stages of the rehabilitation process, from prevention to home care in the chronic phase.
The anonymous survey is intended for stroke patients and people living with multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson’s disease, ALS, muscular dystrophy, neuropathies, childhood cerebral palsy or limb amputation. The survey has several sections with questions covering different domains: use of upper limbs and hands, movement, cognitive and neuropsychological aspects, communication, posture and self care.