Objective: To compare a computer-aided training program with a conventional training program in orthopedic rehabilitation.
Design: The study was a randomized, nonblinded, controlled trial in which follow-up data were obtained at 6 mos. In an inpatient rehabilitation center, a consecutive sample was taken of patients with first total hip replacements or first total knee replacements 23-42 days after surgery. Indication groups were examined separately. The study population included 189 women and 85 men. Mean age was 69 yrs (38-86 yrs). Patients received either computer-aided training (case group) or conventional training (control group) within the framework of their inpatient rehabilitation program. The main outcome measures were levels of acceptance and effectiveness (Harris Hip Score, Hospital for Special Surgery Score, FIM instrument, and Hanover Functional Ability Questionnaire).
Results: Both forms of training showed significant improvements until discharge in scores and items used for the result evaluation independent of patient sex, age, and educational level. The 6-mo follow-up showed that between the groups, there was no statistically significant difference in the level of improvement concerning functional capacity. Furthermore, patients displayed their acceptance of the system by rating it with average values between "good" and "very good."
Conclusions: For patients with total hip replacements or total knee replacements, computer-aided training can be regarded as the equivalent to conventional training in relationship to the results of the rehabilitation program. The system is a new tool in orthopedic rehabilitation. To identify the relative importance of the system, further research is needed.