The neuropsychologist and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation’s center in Lleida, Mónica Nieves, explains how neurorehabilitation centers approach remote treatments using tools such as NeuronUP.
Introduction to the remote neurorehabilitation program
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the neurorehabilitation centers of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation closed their on-site services as a preventive measure against coronavirus infection.
In response to this situation, and with the aim of minimizing the impact of the suspension of services, it was decided to set up telematic attention and approach mechanisms. These devices would be maintained until the centers were fully reopened.
The objective of this teletreatment program is to ensure that the patients maintain their activity through telematic means and new ICT. On the one hand, it seeks to offer sessions to be active, optimize occupancy, promote healthy habits and maintain a good physical and mental state to prevent deterioration in these exceptional moments. On the other hand, to give continuity to the treatments that were already being carried out in our neurorehabilitation centers.
As a line of development of new services, the telerehabilitation format has great advantages for patients and therapists in certain areas. It solves the problem of distance and displacement, promoting the activity in the patient’s daily environment and involving the family in the activity.
The work of the neurorehabilitation centers
Our mission as neurorehabilitation centers is to attend and accompany people with multiple sclerosis or other neurodegenerative diseases. Such as Parkinson, ataxias, ALS or neuropathies. Also, brain damage, for example, stroke, TBI or brain tumor.
The neurorehabilitation centers make available all the technical, human, material and methodological means that can contribute to promote the social integration and personal autonomy of patients. We are committed to an integral and global care model and to neurorehabilitation as the best option (together with pharmacological treatments) to reduce the impact of the disease on their quality of life.
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation has neurorehabilitation centers in which we have different areas with state-of-the-art technological tools. Such as, computerized platforms for cognitive and physical stimulation, interactive multi-touch table, and devices for alternative communication. Also, an independent living area for training in Activities of Daily Living with real instruments with adapted kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
As a novelty during 2020, and as a result of the confinement due to the pandemic, we have more telematic means to offer remote neurorehabilitation treatments, such as, for example, NeuronUP2GO (NeuronUP remote sessions). The objective is to ensure the continuity of the neurorehabilitation therapeutic plan agreed with each patient. As well as, the follow-up of this treatment and the detection of new needs. Also, to provide guidelines and recommendations to avoid complications due to isolation and lack of activity during the pandemic.
Neuropsychological treatment with NeuronUP
From the neuropsychology area, neurorehabilitation treatments are currently carried out remotely or online through these modalities:
- NeuronUP home sessions, called NeuronUP2GO.
- NeuronUP paper activities sent by mail in pdf format.
- Group treatment through ZOOM platform of cognitive guidelines during confinement to all patients with cognitive impairment.
The treatment with NeuronUP has been developed mainly for three groups:
- People with multiple sclerosis with cognitive complaints who were already undergoing treatment at the center or were about to start it.
- People with neuroprogressive diseases. For example, Parkinson’s with mild or moderate cognitive impairment who were already undergoing NPS treatment at the center.
- Patients referred to our center because cognitive impairment was detected as a consequence of having suffered COVID-19.
The treatment consists of 3 weekly sessions with a variable duration depending on the person’s capacity for sustained attention or cognitive fatigue.
We create sessions ranging from 20 minutes to 45 minutes.
The sessions are created with different levels of difficulty, depending on the level of cognitive deficit, and the activities are different depending on the alterations of each patient: attention, speed, language, memory, etc.
Advantages of using NeuronUP for remote neurorehabilitation treatment
As we have already mentioned, the COVID has forced us to reinvent ourselves in order to meet the needs of our patients.
The experience has been very positive, since we have been able to carry out sessions at the patient’s home without the need for them to travel to the center. In addition, NeuronUP facilitates the creation, supervision and follow-up of the treatment specifically designed for each patient.
We have carried out from March 2020 to October 2021 a total of 2134 sessions with NeuronUP2GO, of which 70 people with multiple sclerosis have undergone this treatment.
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We have also started treatment for secondary cognitive deficits after having suffered from COVID. This is a group of people that we did not attend until now and who find themselves in a complex social and assistance vacuum. Since it is a disease with a high variability of symptoms among people, it is difficult to manage (as it happens with multiple sclerosis).
The results are positive and we continue to work, as always, to help people with neurological problems. I believe that our help is essential in this new path, and this team enjoys doing it.
Finally, we would like to thank SANOFI for their collaboration. Since it has helped us to have this tool available to offer it to our patients, providing the necessary license numbers to cover the needs of our centers.