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Trading Places: Dipika Aggarwal’s Story of Recovery Using Telerehabilitation

Dipika Aggarwal, a hospital-based neurologist, traded her white coat for a patient’s gown when she sustained a moderate stroke in 2019 resulting in right hemiplegia (weakness of the right side of her body) and aphasia. She underwent neurosurgery then shortly after began her journey of acute, inpatient, and outpatient rehabilitation before COVID-19 halted her in-person treatment. Because of dissatisfaction with home health therapy and her extensive knowledge on the importance of therapy for stroke recovery, Dipika was determined to seek alternative services to meet her needs. This led her to Kintinu Telerehab.

What follows is a review of a case example that was recently published in the International Journal of Telerehabilitation.

Kintinu’s team is made up of clinicians who understand the importance of an interdisciplinary, team-based approach to telerehabilitation operations. This approach along with extensive experience with stroke rehabilitation guided the assessment process to understand Dipika’s abilities at the onset of therapy. The team then took their findings and began to build a program leveraging their clinical expertise while incorporating Dipika’s personal long-term goals: resume independent living, return to work, and organize/host a stroke support group.

Treatment Objectives

A summary of each discipline’s objectives based on assessment findings is outlined below:

Physical Therapy (PT)

  • Refine gait mechanics
  • Increase walking endurance
  • Improve balance
  • Strengthen right lower extremities

Occupational Therapy (OT)

  • Increase independence with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Strengthen right upper extremities
  • Create habit of routine use of right upper extremity

Speech Therapy (ST)

  • Implement strategies to improve word retrieval during conversations
  • Internalize speech strategies
  • Improve understanding of complex written and verbal material
  • Utilize memory compensation tools for organizing daily activities

Summary of Treatment

Initial treatment sessions launched seven months post-stroke. Dipika received PT, OT, and ST services each for 60-minute durations, three times a week. Kintinu’s interdisciplinary team met biweekly, to ensure each disciplinary was continuing to capitalize on Dipika’s long-term goals. Reassessment took place every 4-6 weeks to ensure she was on trajectory to meet goals or to adjust, if needed. Treatment sessions were targeted around discipline-specific functional tasks for Dipika’s recovery.

Physical Therapy

  • Standing during personal hygiene and home maintenance tasks
  • Using both hands to wash hair, wash dishes, and prepare food
  • Maneuvering through home environment

Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Therapy

  • Planning and sequencing daily schedule and performance of home management tasks.
  • Implementing reading comprehension, memory, and word retrieval strategies while grocery shopping.
  • Manipulating utensils with right hand while performing sequences cooking tasks.
  • Manipulating medical instruments with right hand while practicing sequenced physical exams of patients.

Functional Outcomes

Over the one-year course of telerehabilitation services, Dipika showed significant improvement in all disciplines. She resumed functional activities performed prior to her stroke which included her desire to return to living independently, return to work, and create a stroke support group.

The Kintinu Difference

Dipika’s story is just one example of how telerehabilitation stands apart from in-person rehabilitation. After years of simulating home and community environments in a clinical setting, the Kintinu team is committed to delivering meaningful outpatient therapy in a functional, real-world setting. Our collaborative approach ensures clients reach their fullest potential in all aspects of life.

Kintinu meets individuals where they are – no matter where they call home.