16.05.2019 10:40 Age: 318 days

Rehab via telehealth saves Midwest stroke survivor 1,500 kilometres in travel

Midwest local Michelle Boyland communicates with her physiotherapist, Naomi Ramsay, via Telehealth.

Midwest local Michelle Boyland has defied the odds after suffering a stroke before Christmas and is improving each day with the help of rehabilitation delivered via telehealth, from the comfort of her home.

Michelle is the first person in the Midwest to be set up with in-home rehabilitation via telehealth supervised by a WA Country Health Service physiotherapist.

Naomi Ramsay, Acting Senior Physiotherapist at the Geraldton Health Campus Day Therapy Unit has been Michelle’s regular therapist via videoconference and said that setting Michelle up with telehealth has saved her travelling 1,500 kilometres for outpatient appointments.

“Michelle can’t drive following her stroke as it affected her eye which means she would have needed someone to drive her 50 kilometres each way for every appointment,” Ms Ramsay said.

Michelle uses her own laptop and free videoconferencing software to attend her appointments, the only difference from a face-to-face appointment is that she sees me on her screen and doesn’t need to leave her house.

Being able to access rehabilitation via telehealth in her own home has given her independence and I’m pleased to say that it’s been wildly successful,” she added.

Michelle feels equally as fortunate to be using telehealth saying that it’s made life much easier for her and her husband.

“I’ve had a really positive experience using telehealth, it’s so easy to use and it really took the pressure off my husband who often travels for work,” Ms Boyland said.

“I spent a month in hospital and initially the doctors didn’t think I was going to make it – I was resuscitated twice – then they said my eye might need to be removed but now, thanks to rehabilitation via telehealth, I’m improving every day.

“I really didn’t expect to be this far along after only a few months.

“My next goal is to become well enough to drive again and when that day comes I’m going to drive my dogs to the beach for a treat,” she added.

Delivering rehabilitation services via telehealth is another way the WA Country Health Service is helping bring care closer to home for country patients.

Anyone with a home computer or mobile device and reliable internet connection is able to ask their therapist if telehealth could suit their needs.