Robotic rehabilitation: A public regional health service model of care

Mrs Andrea Voogt1, Mrs Lisa Peters1, Mrs Bronwyn Connelly1

1Northeast Health Wangaratta, Wangaratta, Australia, 2Better Care Victoria, Melbourne, Australia


Rural Australians face distinct health challenges compared to their metropolitan counterparts. Factors contributing to such disparities include an allied health workforce lacking in specialist skills and lack of access to state-of-the-art technologies. Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) received philanthropic grants and community raised funds to purchase robotic equipment in 2017. Utilising robotics we aimed to provide consistent, intensive, repetitive and task specific rehabilitation to patients with motor deficits post neurological injuries.
Whilst trying to implement the new equipment we realised that there was no gold standard model of care (MOC) for Robotic equipment post neurological injury, let alone a publically funded MOC that would consider the unique needs of regional health in Australia. So, NHW completed a business case to Better Care Victoria (BCV) to undertake the development of a model of care for robotic based upper limb rehabilitation.
Systemic changes to our sub-acute ambulatory care service (SACS) were required to support the trials of intensive robotic groups. A detailed assessment about staff competence and confidence to use robotic equipment is being undertaken, as well as evaluation of the broader economic implications of having this technology available to regional patients.
We believe we offer a unique regional and public perspective of undertaking a quality improvement project of this scale and significance.


Andrea Voogt is a senior physiotherapist at Northeast Health Wangaratta, where she speicalises in the management of complex neurological and cardiac clients.  Andrea has a wealth experience in service delivery planning and coordination and has recently commenced as a project coordinator for the robotics program. Andrea sees robotics as the way of the future and is excited to have the opportunity to have access to state of the are technology within a rural setting. Andrea is currently using her experience and knowledge to develop a model of care for upper limb robotics program within the public health system.

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