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App providing coordinated approach to stroke rehabilitation

Members of MIRA ​were featured in a Globe and Mail supplement focused on healthy aging. Distributed in print and online on November 21, 2016, the supplement features stories about outcomes arising from McMaster’s strength in aging research. 

Published: November 18, 2016 


Anyone acquainted with home care for stroke survivors knows the challenges arising from different home-care providers attending to the same person: coordinators, nurses, physiotherapists and personal support workers each have a job to do, which often results in limited information sharing.

Unfortunately, communication challenges among these providers can compromise the quality of care the patient ultimately receives.

But researchers from McMaster University’s Aging, Community and Health Research Unit (ACHRU) in the School of Nursing have devised a 21st-century solution to the problem: a web-based app that will enable home-care workers to share information in real time.

The origin of the My Stroke Team (MyST) app goes back to 2005, when Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid led ACHRU in evaluating stroke rehabilitation in the home setting. “Each health-care provider reported back to one person,” she recalls. “There wasn’t a coordinated approach to care delivery, and this commonly led to conflicting advice about patient treatment.”

The MyST app, which ACHRU developed in conjunction with tech experts from iDeaWORKS at Mohawk College, provides a virtual platform in which home-care providers enter information about their patient’s goals, assessments and care. Everyone on the care team can read this information and the patient’s progress can be charted over time.

Bench testing of the app has proven so successful that the Max Bell Foundation has given ACHRU a $250,000 grant “to see how the app really works in daily use,” says Dr. Markle-Reid. “We’re also hoping to expand the app to give more interaction between patients and providers.”

Ultimately, ACHRU would like to see the app used to link home care, hospitals and family doctors’ offices. “Depending on how the testing goes, the app could eventually support the delivery of a new model of inter-professional community-based rehabilitation for stroke and other chronic conditions,” says Dr. Ruta Valaitis, who co-leads the study with Dr. Markle-Reid.

Testing of the MyST app began in Januar​y 2017.

This article originally appeared in a Globe and Mail sponsor content feature on Healthy Aging produced by Randall Anthony Communications Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. The feature can be viewed here or downloaded here

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