Using the Internet to assess activities of daily living and hand function in people with Parkinson's disease

NeuroRehabilitation. 2008;23(3):253-61.


The ability to measure activities of daily living (ADL) and hand function for people with Parkinson's disease via an Internet-based telerehabilitation system would have a significant impact on the equity, accessibility, and management of the condition for patients who live in rural and remote communities. A low-bandwidth computer-based telerehabilitation system, which incorporates videoconferencing with calibrated assessment tools, has been recently developed at the University of Queensland. This study aimed to determine the validity, intra- and inter-rater reliability of the telerehabilitation system in measuring ADL and hand function in 12 people with Parkinson's disease. ADL status was assessed using the motor component of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and selected items from the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). The Nine Hole Peg Test, Jamar dynamometer and Preston pinch gauge were also used to assess hand function. For half of the participants, an assessor administered assessments in the traditional face-to-face manner while another assessor simultaneously scored the same assessments via the telerehabilitation system. For the remaining participants, the telerehabilitation assessor administered the assessments via the telerehabilitation system while a face-to-face assessor simultaneously scored the assessments. The telerehabilitation system was found to be a valid measure of ADL status and hand function in people with Parkinson's disease and to have a high level of intra- and inter-rater reliability (all ICCs > 0.80). These results suggest that therapists can confidently use a low-bandwidth telerehabilitation system to assess ADL status and hand function in people with Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification*
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Queensland
  • Remote Consultation*
  • Reproducibility of Results