Professionals of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and from Center of San Juan de Dios, created at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic an online system aimed at the families of 52 children with neurodevelopmental disorders, to allow them to continue with rehabilitation during confinement. The project, which will be published internationally to extend it to caregivers who need these resources in other countries, has obtained the first prize from the ULPGC Telefónica Chair in the category of Accessible Technologies in the face of Covid-19.
Evaluation of a tele-rehabilitation program in children with neurodevelopmental alteration during confinement caused by Covid-19, is the title of the initiative coordinated by the doctor in Physiotherapy Aníbal Báez Suárez, associate professor at the ULPGC, in which he participated the entire Rehabilitation Service of the City of San Juan de Dios in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, made up of the physiotherapists Romina Pestana Miranda and Iraya Padrón Rodríguez; the speech therapists Débora Santana Cardeñosa and Lara Santana Pérez, and the occupational therapist Victoria María López Herrera.
The families used the resources twice a week with an average of 30 minutes per session
“With the onset of the pandemic, a fundamental need arose to continue caring for the children we treat on a daily basis. The situation of confinement imposed by the health authorities generated an important change in our lives and, to a greater extent, in those families that must care for people with functional diversity. For this reason, we developed a set of resources for families to continue to some extent the process of rehabilitation of their children, "said Báez.
Given the concern that minors could not be cared for during confinement, they designed a digital manual with multidisciplinary resources, this being one of the most innovative parts of the project, since it covers all fields of rehabilitation -physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. -, to guide families. «In the same week that the confinement began, we began to develop digital manuals to guide parents and relatives of children in rehabilitation. They included photos with different procedures and web resources with videos of activities so that each one could do them at home. We adapt them to a simple and easy-to-understand language and send them to all of them, so that each family selects the material according to their needs ”.
Meetings were held every week in the different digital media, coordinated by the teacher of each of the students, and with the support of the center's counselor who is a psychologist, to evaluate the degree of compliance with the program and how they were doing it. in addition to solving doubts.
The project ran from the first week of confinement, in March 2020, until June 15, the month in which a survey was sent to families in online format that could be answered via mobile phone - «not everyone had a computer or even an email »- to evaluate the resources provided, the frequency of activities and the difficulties detected.
The most innovative thing was to integrate physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy into the manual
113 families responded to the questionnaire about the intervention carried out with their children, who rated the physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy resources as "very good". The average frequency of carrying out the activities was twice a week, with an average of 30 minutes per session; and it was found that the ability to understand the information in the manual was not affected by the academic level of the caregivers.
This is the first study to quantify the multidisciplinary approach to children with neurodevelopmental disorders using tele-rehabilitation as a therapeutic tool. The results show high levels of participation and satisfaction of the families.
What emerged as a solution to a specific problem has become a resource that they want to make available to all those families who need it. "We want to share our work to help people in other countries where Covid-19 has generated a greater need," said Professor Báez. To do this, said resources have also been translated into English and is currently being reviewed for possible publication in a scientific journal "and thus achieve greater impact on the dissemination of information," he concluded.
Accessibility and social inclusion
The Telefónica Chair at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria develops its activity focused on accessibility and social inclusion. Its mission is to develop innovative uses of ICT for the general public and for underprivileged groups. The projects as a whole must have an innovative character and a high social impact. On June 16, the awards for the fourth call were presented, in a ceremony chaired by the rector of the ULPGC, Lluís Serra, accompanied by Juan Flores, director of Telefónica Spain in the Canary Islands; and María Yasmina Hormiga, delegate in the Canary Islands of the 'la Caixa' Banking Foundation. In total, eight awards have been awarded divided into two categories: Accessible Technologies before the Covid-19 and another general one for research, innovation and transfer projects. | MJH