Rehabilitation of memory after stroke remains an unmet need. Telehealth delivery may overcome barriers to accessing rehabilitation services.
We conducted a non-randomized intervention trial to investigate feasibility and effectiveness of individual telehealth (internet videoconferencing) and face-to-face delivery methods for a six-week compensatory memory rehabilitation program. Supplementary analyses investigated non-inferiority to an existing group-based intervention, and the role of booster sessions in maintaining functional gains. The primary outcome measure was functional attainment of participants’ goals. Secondary measures included subjective reports of lapses in everyday memory and prospective memory, reported use of internal and external memory strategies, and objective measures of memory functioning.
Forty-six stroke survivors were allocated to telehealth and face-to-face intervention delivery conditions. Feasibility of delivery methods was supported, and participants in both conditions demonstrated treatment-related improvements in goal attainment, and key subjective outcomes of everyday memory, and prospective memory. Gains on these measures were maintained at six-week follow-up. Short-term gains in use of internal strategies were also seen. Non-inferiority to group-based delivery was established only on the primary measure for the telehealth delivery condition. Booster sessions were associated with greater maintenance of gains on subjective measures of everyday memory and prospective memory.
This exploratory study supports the feasibility and potential effectiveness of telehealth options for remote delivery of compensatory memory skills training after a stroke. These results are also encouraging of a role for booster sessions in prolonging functional gains over time.