Frequently Asked Questions

What is Therapidia?

Therapidia is a free-of-charge online resource of physiological rehabilitation exercise videos.

It is created by therapists, for therapists. (and their clients!)

It allows clients to reliably and efficiently continue therapy at home, and is intended as a supplement to standard rehabilitation therapy sessions.

Therapidia was created in order to maximise rehabilitation opportunity for clients.

When a patient is discharged from hospital, it is usually because the doctor in charge has determined that the patient has sufficiently recovered from his/her medical issue that (s)he is safe to return home. However, the patient may still require ongoing rehabilitation exercises to continue functional improvement, enabling the patient to be better able to perform previous everyday activities, and restore their quality of life.

In inpatient / outpatient therapist sessions at a hospital or clinic, therapy time must be balanced between reassessment, counselling, direct therapy and caregiver/direct client training for therapy exercises. This means it is often difficult to have enough time dedicated to teaching specific rehabilitation exercises.

And if the exercises are taught, clients may have difficulty remembering how to perform the exercise correctly, or misplace their written handouts. It can also take a significant amount of time and money by the client, or family members, to visit therapy for exercise training and feedback.

While numerous evidence-based exercises exist and are widely known, Therapidia is the first online platform that allows easy, free access to a wide range of video-guided rehabilitation exercises to practice outside the clinic.

Therapidia is multidisciplinary, as clients in need of rehabilitation often have multiple needs, e.g. in the case of a stroke that may have impacted areas such as mobility (Physiotherapy), performance of ADLs (Activities of Daily Living – Occupational Therapy)  and swallowing (Speech Therapy). We aim to be a holistic resource that provides rehabilitation resources for a variety of needs.

Do these exercises actually work?

The exercises provided are based on research and anecdotal clinical evidence, and are used in the framework of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). Where appropriate, some links to articles discussing research evidence may be seen below each exercise.

The most well-known definition of EBP was given by Dr. David Sackett in 1996, as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research”. 

Evidence-Based Practice involves 3 main factors used in clinical decision-making:

  1. Best Research Evidence
  2. Clinical Expertise
  3. Patient Values and Preferences

Some exercises have stronger research evidence than others, and some therapists may perform some exercises but not others, due to personal experience and opinion. It is up to the prescribing therapist to choose which exercises they feel may best assist rehabilitation of their client.

The success of any Therapidia exercise also depends on:

  • Whether or not it is appropriate based on the client’s condition, and matches the client’s therapy goal(s)
  • The quality and quantity of exercise performed by the client
  • Individual motor and cognitive abilities for the client to safely and properly carry out the exercise
  • Individual personal and medical factors

For these reasons, Therapidia strongly suggests exercises only be performed under the guidance of a qualified therapist, and is not able to give promises about individual outcomes.

I am a therapist. How do I benefit from using this website?

There are several benefits to using Therapidia to assist your clients’ rehabilitation. These include:

1. Superior clinical time management

Caseloads can often be difficult to manage, and feature lengthy waiting lists and/or limited session times. Sessions can require multiple elements, including:

  • Full assessment
  • Information counselling
  • Caregiver training
  • Therapeutic exercise training (if time allows)

This is on top of having to write notes afterwards! Depending on the nature of your work environment, it may be challenging and stressful trying to cover all aspects of care within a limited time period, for all your clients.

By prescribing Therapidia exercises based on your evaluation and collaboration with your client, sessions can become more time-efficient. Time is a valuable resource!

2. Client finances

Service delivery models in different countries have varying levels of financial subsidy. Therapy often comes at a significant financial burden to the client. By using a trusted and completely free website to assist in the therapy process, the client and caregiver(s) may reduce their financial burden, allowing for their time (as well as yours) to be more efficiently spent.

3. Client ease of access and use

Many clients have mobility issues, and can find it difficult to visit hospitals, clinics or day rehabilitation centers.

Therapidia can be used on any electronic device with internet access, anywhere, any time. The website is designed for easy navigation and use.

Unlike paper-based handouts used in many clinics, Therapidia’s mode of training is audio-visual, and can be repeated as many times as the client requires, in case of incorrect technique, need for repetition of instructions, or forgetfulness. All exercises also include subtitles, in order to assist patients with hearing difficulty or language barriers.

Which client/patient types could these exercises benefit?

At the current stage of development, Therapidia exercises are primarily aimed at adults with the following:

  • Stroke, or similar neurological disorder that has caused nerve-related motor dysfunction
  • Post-radiation therapy to the head & neck area (Speech Therapy stretch exercises)

There may be other client types who may also be considered suitable for these exercises, and this may expand as further exercises are added to Therapidia over time.

A therapist will decide if a specific client is suitable for any exercises provided.

To perform most of these exercises, the client must generally have sufficient:

  • Motor function to self-perform any non-stretch exercises
  • Cognition (including language ability), hearing and/or vision/reading to be able to follow instructions from either the videos or person assisting therapy
  • Motivation to improve their function and perform these exercises regularly

Some of these exercises look like they might help. Can I just try them on my own?

This is not recommended. Therapidia functions as a supplement to regular therapy, providing extra audio-visual guidance for exercises already prescribed in a therapy session. These exercises must be prescribed by a qualified professional, to make sure they are appropriate to you or your loved one’s condition. This will also reduce the risk of harm, as there are certain medical conditions and procedures that may make the exercises posted on Therapidia unsafe.

Can these exercises replace traditional therapy?

Absolutely not!

Therapy generally consists of the following steps:

  • Assessment – perform specific tests to find out what issues a client may have
  • Analysis – evaluate the assessment results to learn and prioritise the primary issues (within the therapist’s scope) affecting the client
  • Management – initiate a therapy plan to assist the client, which may include things such as:
    • Determining how much assistance the client requires with mobility (Physiotherapy), and any safety precautions required
    • Determining the degree of assistance required for daily tasks such as clothing, showering and feeding (Occupational Therapy)
    • Determining how the client can most effectively communicate, or texture of food and drink required to prevent aspiration (food and drink entering the lungs – Speech Therapy)
    • Performing any rehabilitation tasks to maximise client recovery / function
    • Caregiver training as required
    • Liaising with medical teams, colleagues and family / carers as required
  • Re-evaluating the client’s issues over time and adjusting management accordingly
  • Discharge planning as and when considered appropriate, including home programs and care plans to be communicated to any required parties

As you can see, therapy can be a very holistic and complicated process which requires ongoing input from medical and allied health teams to ensure that the client’s needs are safely met.

Out of the therapy steps above, Therapidia only assists with a small subset of rehabilitation tasks that are suitable for audio-visual training, which do not require ongoing feedback with a therapist present (depending on the client’s capabilities).

Therapidia is designed as a therapeutic tool, which therapists can use to more efficiently manage their clients. However, it is absolutely no replacement for traditional therapy.

My therapist is teaching / performing rehabilitation exercises that are not listed here. Why is that?

1. Therapidia only provides easily generalised content

Rehabilitation is very individualised and client-specific by nature. There is no one-size-fits-all rehabilitation program, and therapists often work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to ensure that their rehabilitation is maximally effective and beneficial to the client.

The exercises listed are ones that can be generalised – i.e. exercises that are performed in an identical or very similar fashion among multiple client types. Certain rehabilitation forms may be very specialised for the specific client, in view of the complexity of their medical or personal factors.

While we attempt to provide as much useful content as possible, Therapidia acts only as a supplement to standard rehabilitation plans, providing further at-home / mobile assistance for standard exercises. It is by no means a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Your therapist(s) must always guide your rehabilitation program and suggest content available on Therapidia as they see fit.

 

2. Work in progress! 

Therapidia is constantly adding new content over time, and it may be that one of the exercises you are performing may simply be unavailable for now. Please check back regularly and subscribe to our YouTube channel for further updates!

My hospital / clinic performs exercises that have similarities, but use special equipment. Why are those exercises not shown here?

Though hospitals or clinics may utilise different types of equipment through the rehabilitation process, the video content shown on Therapidia uses either no equipment, or equipment that is inexpensive or easily found around the home. This is done for two reasons:

  1. These exercises are intended to supplement standard rehabilitation exercises, and so may be performed outside the hospital or clinic, where such equipment may not be available.  Suitable inpatients could also perform these exercises in their own time during admission, however!
  2. Many patients may not have access to special equipment, for various reasons. Therapidia aims to provide exercises that are able to be performed by as many patients as possible (who are medically suitable).

I cannot access any links given at the end of the dysphagia videos. Why not?

The dysphagia video outros were created using the YouTube ‘annotations’ feature (discontinued May 2, 2017), which allows video providers to create link boxes (annotations) at the end of a video, allowing links to be placed on any part of the video, including animated sections.

Unfortunately, this feature does not currently function on mobile devices – they are visible to desktop computers only.

There are a few ways around this issue:

 

1. Use a desktop PC.

This will allow you to select the links shown at the end of the videos, as well as YouTube cards within the embedded videos on our website, for optimal user experience.

 

2. Perform the exercises only prescribed by your therapist.

Your therapist should have a good idea about your condition, and which exercises may be of assistance. They should prescribe the combination of exercises they feel is best for your condition, so there is no need to worry!

If you are keen to see related videos, however, there are some other options:

 

3. Follow the YouTube ‘cards’ shown during the videos.

Most exercise videos will include at least one ‘card’ as shown below:

These cards are accessible on mobile devices. However, they are only visible through the YouTube app.

If you are browsing on a mobile device and would like to view the cards, you will need to do so via viewing the Therapidia channel within the YouTube app rather than via the embedded videos on our site. This is an unfortunate current limitation of YouTube.

These cards link to other exercises that may be useful (though check with your therapist before performing these!), but will only show up one at a time, with a short time delay between each card. They correspond to the short animations shown after the exercise video (which also link to related exercises; these links cannot be selected on mobile devices).

 

4. Explore other exercises on the website.

The exercises pages on our website provide more detailed background information for each exercise, such as general tips and some (limited) research citations.

Alternatively,

 

5. Visit our YouTube channel to browse. (and please subscribe!)

Therapidia is a FREE service. Please subscribe to support it.
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