It was in November of 2016 when I experienced my stroke. The left side of my body was badly affected, leaving my left arm completely dysfunctional, I could not move it at all. My left leg was effectively paralyzed also, putting me in a wheelchair as a result. Being an entrepreneur, manager and endurance athlete, I am used to setting goals for the long term and to consistently work towards them in order to ultimately achieve them. The big difference with my new goal of achieving full recovery was and is that essentially nothing can be planned, quite contrary of the goals I was used to in business such as launching new products, increasing revenue or similar. While there are many ways of launching a new product or increasing revenue, the options and alternatives available for the stroke rehabilitation journey are extremely limited, especially if one type of therapy does not work for you.
The most effective method of regaining movement in my wrist and fingers was actually the well established mirror therapy. For about six months, I would sit in front of my mirror every day performing various exercises until self doubt and exhaustion would stop me. Whenever my therapist was there with me, he would support me with praise every time the slightest movement appeared to be going through my hand. I needed that support from him as I did this for weeks and months. As a result of my strong will, perseverance, some mental training and the ability to motivate myself, I was able to ultimately gain back most movement into my wrist and fingers.
Through my work as a business angel, I happened to discover Rewellio. Based on my personal experience as a patient, I was and am fully aware of the pros and cons of the traditional rehabilitation methods and tools in the Austrian health care system. I now also know that Rewellio is able to provide true value to rehabilitation centres and hospitals. Its playful exercise approach and monitoring capabilities are exactly what I was missing when I was grudgingly staring at that mirror for months. Gamification and monitoring are particularly important when doing exercises at home, where you don’t have the luxury of getting the motivational support and supervision of a therapist, making sure you don’t fall into stages of frustration and depression and habits of not doing the exercises correctly.
“What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.“
Another significant weakness of the traditional therapy approach is that patient progress is not well documented. If improvements cannot be measured and looked back upon, a key motivational factor is missing. But proper measurement and documentation is not only about motivation, it is also about choosing the right exercises with the appropriate intensity at the right time, so that the patient is not over- or underchallenged. Accomplishing a new high scores and levels, similar to a computer game, are key to keep up the spirits. In business we often like to say: “What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.“ This is so true and that’s why rewellio‘s potential is so enormous. Because of this potential and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from essentially every therapist at all the rehabilitation centres and hospitals I have been to made me decide to get actively involved – I am now an investor and active advisor for rewellio.