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Important findings of a technology-assisted in-home music-based intervention for individuals with stroke: a small feasibility study.

PURPOSE: To examine the feasibility of stroke survivors receiving music-based rehabilitation via a mobile app.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We recruited ten chronic stroke survivors who were community-dwelling with mild-moderate upper extremity (UE) paresis. Participants were encouraged to exercise their paretic UE with a commercial instrument training app, Yousician, with a piano keyboard at home for three weeks. The feasibility of the training was measured by: (a) the acceptance of using the app to receive in-home piano training (e.g., daily usage time, exit interview) and (b) the effects of the app functionality as a rehabilitation tool (e.g., participants' motor improvements after training).

RESULTS: Our small sample size of participants demonstrated general positive feedback and self-motivation (e.g., interest in extended training time) about using a mobile app to receive in-home, music-based UE training. Participants showed no trend of declined usage and practiced on average ∼33 min per day for 4-5 days per week during the 3-week participation. We also observed positive results in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Action Research Arm Test, and Nine Hole Peg Test after training.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provided insight into the feasibility of delivering music-based interventions through mobile health (mHealth) technology for stroke populations. Although this was a small sample size, participants' positive and negative comments and feedback provided useful information for future rehab app development. We suggest four ways to further improve and design a patient-oriented app to facilitate the use of a mHealth app to deliver in-home music-based interventions for stroke survivors.

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