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UC researchers save health sector millions with innovative stroke rehab

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The innovative University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research, which has saved the New Zealand health sector millions with its stroke recovery protocols, is hosting the 2nd International Stroke Rehab: From No-Tech to Go Tech Conference at the Christchurch Art Gallery, next month.

A recent Rose Centre research programme for stroke patients resulted in a reduction in pneumonia rates by 17%, with subsequent savings in healthcare costs of over $1.5 million in one year for the district health board.

The conference’s 30 January keynote session by UC’s Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee, Director of the UC Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research, titled: "PERC programme - Patients, Engineers, Researchers and Clinicians" from 1.15pm - 2.30pm at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, will be free for the public to attend.

"This conference is a great way to highlight our unique PERC programme: Patients, Engineers, Researchers and Clinicians. We will have a special open session at the meeting inviting community, patients and clinicians to attend for free and give their feedback about development of bioengineering applications," Professor Huckabee says.

The international, multidisciplinary, rehabilitation conference, which runs 29 - 31 January, features experts from the United States, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, and panel discussions covering neuroscience and neural recovery, and multidisciplinary engagement in clinical stroke. A broad range of rehabilitation specialists, engineers, physiologists, clinicians, and researchers from 13 countries will attend. Peer-reviewed research presentations will include speech-language pathology, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy with an interest in cortical, corticobulbar or corticospinal rehabilitation.

The PERC programme

The PERC project aims to bring patients, engineers, researchers and clinicians together to develop rehabilitation technologies.

"Critically, the patient is the centre of this team and contributes valued input to research and development through onsite clinical services. Clinical services are available to patient partners, facilitating not only their individual recovery following stroke, but importantly enabling them to make substantial contributions to how rehabilitation is provided in the future," Professor Huckabee says.

An ongoing series of focus groups with patients, engineers, researchers and clinicians highlight crucial limitations to rehabilitation success, with the PERC team using those discussions to develop technological solutions. The PERC project allows patients to contribute actively to not only their own rehabilitation but to the real potential for rehabilitation of others.

Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee

Maggie-Lee Huckabee, PhD, practiced as a clinician for 13 years before the frustration of never knowing ‘the answers’ led her to an academic career. Now a Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, she is the Director of the UC Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research in Christchurch, New Zealand. In her 20-year academic career, Professor Huckabee has co-authored three books, written 14 book chapters and has published 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers. For her innovative research, she was awarded one of the top research honours from the University of Canterbury - The Innovation Medal. She is well known as a clinical teacher and is an invited speaker by health systems worldwide to provide clinical training, particularly in rehabilitation practices.

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