App helps patients recover after surgery

A physiotherapy exercise application (app) for iPads and iPhones could help to improve patient recovery from hip and knee surgery, its developers claim.

The Pocket Physio app is being offered to patients who have had hip and knee replacements at the independent sector UK Specialist Hospitals (UKSH). It is also free to download using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

The app features pre- and post-surgery exercise videos and is designed to be used alongside evidence-based treatment plans.

Physio Mini Jacob, from the UKSH Shepton Mallet treatment centre in Somerset, initiated the idea.

She believes patients using Pocket Physio are more likely to complete their physio exercises and self-manage their recovery.  

‘Although we do encourage patients to exercise at home after surgery, it is good for patients to have an additional tool to rely on,’ said Ms Jacob. She hopes it will cut the number of post-surgery patients being referred on for community physio.

The app contains a self-assessment tool that creates an individualised exercise plan and goals, which enable patients to assess and record their progress.

The information is used by physiotherapists and consultants to monitor UKSH patients at routine follow-ups, or earlier if patients have particular concerns.

Janet Thomas, chair of Agile – the CSP professional network for physios working with older people – gave Pocket Physio a cautious welcome.

‘Any method of trying to improve adherence with pre- and post-surgery education, advice and exercise is to be welcomed.

However, it must be seen as complementing the advice and exercise given during an individualised assessment and intervention for specific patients.’

She also noted that many older people would not have access to the technology, limiting its use at present.

Pocket Physio can be downloaded from the iTunes app store by searching for the app name.

In a separate development, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Whipps Cross University Hospital in east London, has developed the OrthoCare iPhone or iPad app.

This answers frequently asked questions on orthopaedic conditions of the upper and lower limb axial skeleton, and is also available at the iTunes app store.

Louise Hunt

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