Objective: The upper extremity plays a vital role in manipulation, communication and overall quality of life. Upper limb hemiplegia is one the most common presentations of stroke and cerebral palsy. Stroke is projected to increase dramatically as the over 65 population increases. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive brain injury that occurs during the pre, peri, and post-natal periods of life, with an incidence ranging from 2-4 per 1000 live births. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the rehabilitative capacity of a pneumatically actuated soft and rigid hybrid actuator hand exoskeleton system called the REHAB Glove. Testing has been performed for post-stroke hand complications and a smaller pediatric version is also currently being tested to determine functional outcomes in cerebral palsy cases.
Research Question: Does the Soft Robotic Glove for post-stroke hand rehabilitation meet the basic standards for rehabilitation, can it be used on a pediatric scale for Cerebral Palsy patients and is it practical for patient use in an in-home setting?
Methods: Prior to glove use subject demographics were collected and subjects were prepped with instructions and safety. Post-stroke Subjects were timed and assessed for ease of donning the glove and then participated in continuous passive motion (CPM) of the hand using the glove. Post glove assessments consisting of hand evaluation and survey for ease of use were then collected. CP subjects are being tested in a similar fashion.
Results: From observation of 2 post-stroke patients, it has been noted that their hands can be very difficult to manipulate. This has complicated the process donning the glove to begin therapy. Detaching the finger portions of the glove from the pneumonic actuator device has been shown to simplify this process. The time elapsed to complete this process prior to modification was much greater, approximately a 608 sec. Also, redness has been noted in both stroke patients and 1 control subject for the CP study.
Conclusion: More modifications are necessary to simplify the process of gloving the hand and further testing and evaluation is necessary prior to establishing definitive results. Alterations in areas of increased pressure on the skin should also be considered to reduce redness.