Published: 03 October, 2017 | Volume 1 - Issue 3 | Pages: 120-136
Background: Telerehabilitation has been identified as an effective treatment that promotes exercise rehabilitation in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Social support is recognised as a core element of such interventions. However further research is needed to consider the role and value of different social support domains.
Aim: Review available literature to assess and synthesise the use and value of social support within telerehabilitation interventions for individuals with MS.
Method: A narrative synthesis was conducted. A systematic search of included articles was conducted. Electronic databases were searched from inception to January 2017. Other search methods were undertaken. Evaluation and synthesis of included articles utilised risk of bias assessment and a 4-stage synthesis process.
Main Results: A total of fourteen studies, involving 718 participants (505 female, 213 male; aggregated mean age 47.6 years) with MS, were included. Esteem support was the most frequently reported method of social support, followed by informational, emotional and tangible. It would appear social support can be beneficial in assisting participants to adhere to treatment interventions. Visual feedback may be directly beneficial to improve impaired balance in individuals with MS. A model for future interventions is provided.
Conclusions: Social support appears to increase the adherence of participants with MS to telerehabilitation interventions. Unique findings provide an indication for the direction and content of future interventions. Further research is necessary to ascertain the optimal types and frequencies of social support delivery and its effect on health outcomes for participants with MS.
Telerehabilitation; Tele rehabilitation; Telemedicine; E-health; MS; Multiple sclerosis; Physiotherapy; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation