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About the research

People with neurological disorders suffer from poor health outcomes, such as reduced physical functioning and a high frequency of falls.

Telehealth is a model which may address these challenges. By increasing access to healthcare, via telehealth, practitioners can improve their patients' physical functioning and quality of life. There is no validated telehealth tool for assessing balance and gait of people with neurological disorders, especially people with balance disorders.

The goal of the REMOTE study

This research aims to generate reliable, feasible and safe mobility test which could be done remotely using videoconference (e.g. Zoom, Skype) with people who have balance disorders, related to neurological disorders.

Developing tools to test individuals' mobility remotely will help us to assist people with neurological disorders who exhibit mild to moderate impairments who live in remote areas and/or in isolation.

This project will also help us to conduct future projects that aim to deliver home-based physical activity programmes remotely (via videoconference) to increase mobility and to reduce the risk of falls of people with neurological disorders.

Seeking participants

For this study, we will recruit people for two rounds of clinical balance and gait assessments: a face-to-face and a telehealth assessment. These tests will be conducted at least one-week apart and participants will be offered a $20 voucher as a token thank you for their participation.

We are specifically seeking participants with:

General inclusion criteria are:

  • have access to high-speed internet;
  • have a mobile device (e.g. iPad, smartphone);
  • is familiar (or have support of someone who is familiar) with mobile technology (e.g. use of iPad, smartphones);
  • can walk for 30m (with or without walking aids);
  • can stand up with no support for 1 minute;
  • do not have any additional health issue that would preclude their ability to participate in the study.

This project is funded by the University of Otago Division of Health Sciences and School of Physiotherapy and Brain Research New Zealand.

Outcomes of the research

Part one outcomes:

Thank you very much for participating in the REMOTE study. We appreciate your time and effort in assisting us to advance our research knowledge and creating ways to benefit the population. Please, see attached a copy of a scientific paper we have written with the data collected with your help. We found out that the tests highly used in clinical practice to assess the balance and walking of older adults are reliable when used online, through telehealth, and they are also valid to measure fall risk, even remotely. Our paper:

We hope to help other researchers and clinicians in Aotearoa and worldwide with this study. We could not have done it without your help.

About the team

This study is led by Dr Paulo Henrique Silva Pelicioni (Postdoctoral fellow, Health Sciences Division) and supported by Professors Leigh Hale and Debra Waters.

Paulo is assisted in this study by Research Assistant, Amanda Still (BPhty).

For further information: or 0800 687489

Study Lead:

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