Evaluating the efficacy of tele-cognitive rehabilitation for functional performance in three case studies

Sing Fai Tam, Wai Kwong Man, Christina W Y Hui-Chan, Pak Tao Lau, Ben Yip, Wendy Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the main causes of long-term disability, and its rehabilitation is a challenge to the healthcare team. Tele-rehabilitation, through using advancements in networking and tailor-made software, has been developed and applied to the cognitive rehabilitation of persons with brain injury in the present study. Tele-cognitive rehabilitation uses customized online computer software as a treatment mode. The online treatment software is operated on an interactive tele-communication platform - for example, video conferencing with screen sharing. Through implementing the tele-cognitive rehabilitation activities, therapists can help clients to practise and thus improve their cognitive skills through using the treatment software successfully. Moreover, hypermedia programming techniques allow the therapist to adjust the software to meet the client's treatment needs, so that the treatment is appropriate to his/her functional levels and living environment. Also the software can customize immediate visual, auditory and personalized feedback to motivate the client and training can be set at the right pace for the client's needs. The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and perceived efficacy of the newly developed customized tele-cognitive rehabilitation programme for three subjects with traumatic brain injury through using single-case and qualitative research design. The cognitive factors investigated in this pilot study were, respectively, Chinese word recognition, prospective memory and semantic memory. The subjects had undergone a recruitment process with stipulated screening criteria. A single case experimental design (ABA reversal/withdrawal design) consisted of a no-intervention baseline phase (A), an intervention phase (B) and a no-intervention withdrawal phase (A). There were six sessions in each phase, making a total of 18 sessions. Tele-cognitive rehabilitation software was tailor-made according to each subject's cognitive functional needs. To monitor the change in cognitive functions, variables were tapped by tailor-made assessment and qualitative questionnaires through interviews, and they were then used to explore subjects' opinions of the programme and to test the treatment efficacy of the tele-cognitive rehabilitation programme. Finally, the relationships among the three phases were analysed through visual analysis and trend line analysis by means of the split-middle method. The three persons with brain injury showed improving trends and levels of specific cognitive performance during the treatment phase. Qualitative findings were analysed and confirmed the efficacy of the treatment module. The tele-cognitive rehabilitation approach was well received by subjects. The authors suggest that further replication studies of this kind should be conducted in the future and that more subjects should be recruited to improve the generalizability of the results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-38
Number of pages19
JournalOccupational Therapy International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2003


  • Brain injury
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Tele-cognitive rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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