Allied Health Newsletter Edition 2307

As the allied health industry is continuously evolving, we understand how important it is to remain knowledgeable of the latest developments.  To that effect, we’ve compiled the studies that are making an impact in today’s world.  Allied health is all about improving patients’ lives.  Use the knowledge imparted in this newsletter to do just that.

A Dietitian-Led Healthy Lifestyle Education Package Improves Health Behaviours of Stroke Survivors

Stroke survivors bear a higher risk of recurrent cerebrovascular events.  Despite that, many fail to adhere to their targeted treatment goals.  To overcome this issue, a study was conducted in Malaysia to examine the effectiveness of early dietitian-led lifestyle modifications among stroke survivors.  It found that such treatment underpinned with behavioural change theories and family-member involvement was beneficial.  The study’s outcome variables consisted of blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, dietary intake, physical activity levels, smoking status, alcohol consumption, malnutrition risk, and health-related quality of life.

Stroke Recurrence among Stroke Patients Referred for Driving Assessment and Rehabilitation

Many stroke survivors would like to return to driving.  However, they are often worried about the risk of recurrent stroke, especially if it would occur while driving and causes an accident.   A Singapore study by TTSH Driving Assessment and Rehabilitation Program (DARP) studied the impact of stroke recurrence among drivers referred to their program, which is run by trained Occupational Therapists.  The study showed that among their patients, the risk of recurrent stroke is low at 11.3% over a median of 30 months.  However, age is the main risk factor for stroke recurrence and there is a 4 times higher risk among those aged 60 years.   Despite that, none of their patients were involved in any multi-vehicle collisions.  These results might further help to reassure clinicians as driving is often an important occupation, especially for those below 60, and to support efforts to integrate return to driving post-stroke.

Virtual Nutrition Services Bring Favourable Outcomes to Cancer Patients

In an era where healthcare professionals find themselves stretched to the limit, telehealth services have proven to be valuable.  In cancer centres, there exists a long backlog of nutrition consults.  As patients require constant help with planning healthy meals, the measure to maximise the use of telehealth sessions is preventing malnutrition and reducing care delays.

Sensory-Based Occupational Therapy Brings Trauma Treatment to a New Level

How do we help people who have experienced trauma bridge the gap between the brain and body functions?  Sensory-based occupational therapy is closing the barrier.  An individual who suffers from trauma encounters physiological changes to the nervous system.  This study finds that dynamic sensory-motor processes are a catalyst for improved movement and social and environmental interactions.

A Clinical Decision Support System for Patients of Musculoskeletal Pain Disorders

The term “clinical decision support” covers various tools and interventions.  They include simple non-computerised information-management tools and modern systems with patient-specific recommendations.  Recently, a team in Norway has developed a clinical decision support system (CDSS) using AI to help physiotherapists come up with musculoskeletal pain disorder treatment.  The new CDSS benefits patients with individually tailored treatment recommendations.


Singapore Allied Health Experiments with a COVID-19 Virtual Ward

A team of allied health professionals remotely supported COVID-19 patients in Singapore.  Patients submitted vital signs using their mobile phones through a chatbot and caregivers conducted interviews, which were analysed thematically.  Both patients and healthcare officers found the virtual ward to be safe and effective.  As the care team was available around the clock, there was never a lack of timely care.  All of this happened in the comfort and familiarity of the patient’s home environment.

A Combined Exercise and Lifestyle Intervention for Adults with Prediabetes

Is exercise alone an adequate tool to prevent diabetes?  Or is a combined diet-and-exercise intervention more effective?  A recent randomised trial found that aerobic exercise only achieved 24-50% effectiveness when compared to measures that merged physical movement and healthy eating.  The study experimented with low, moderate, and high levels of exercise.

Biopsychosocial Education Aids Patients with Subacute and Chronic Pain in the Hand, Wrist, or Elbow

The current practices when treating elbow, wrist, and hand injuries only go so far.  Certain individuals continue to experience pain past their expected recovery period.  The lingering pain drives psychological, social, and financial burdens.  Enter biopsychosocial pain neuroscience education (PNE), a successful method to treat patients with extended distal upper extremity pain.  The interventions include functional goal setting, education, pain control, ergonomic training, and neuromuscular re-education.


Preliminary Results Show That Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury Benefit from Semi-immersive Virtual Reality Cognitive Training

Conventional physiotherapy, which includes muscle-strengthening exercises, static and dynamic balance activities, and gait training, is highly important for those suffering from spinal cord injury.  From a rehabilitation point of view, such therapy prevents complications such as muscle atrophy, pressure ulcers, and deterioration of the autonomic nervous system.  The latest technological developments in this field, virtual reality (VR) systems, are finding their way into healthcare facilities.  They provide intensive, repetitive, and task-oriented exercises.  Are they effective?  This recent study observes a significant improvement in global cognitive functions.

Use of Gamification for Adult Physical Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy; A Novel Concept?

There has been a rise in the popularity of therapeutic games in adult physical rehabilitation in recent years.  However, is this concept of ‘gamification’ a new approach in therapy?  This commentary piece suggests that the term ‘gamification’, defined as “the use of game design to engage people in meaningful occupation in their everyday lives”, is new in Occupational Therapy literature.  Occupational Therapists have long been incorporating games as part of their therapy using an activity-based approach.  Therapeutic games are up and coming, and perhaps this space is something to watch out for in the future.

How Digital Games Benefit the Rehabilitation of Speech Disorders

Digital games are going beyond the use of mere entertainment.  Today, they are effective treatment methods for speech disorders.  Patients suffering from apraxia, dysarthria, articulatory hypokinesia in Parkinson’s disease, dysphoric disorder, hearing disability, phonological impairment, and speech disorder in autism can stand to gain from this.  A scoping review of articles has reported the positive effect of digital games in speech therapy, including patients’ motivation levels.  However, its authors maintain that the design of the games should be personalised for greater impact.

Till Next Month!

Allied health professionals possess the power to enhance the quality of life.  As technology keeps progressing, patients are no longer bound to endure their struggles silently.  Eager to unveil the wonders that lie ahead in the realm of allied health?  Keep your curiosity piqued with our upcoming newsletters.  You may get the newsletter in your inbox from this sign-up link:

Feel free to share your knowledge and expertise with us.  We are open to direct referral to our therapy services and are happy to discuss your cases.