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This was an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisation

Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW)


  • Charles Sturt University
  • Alpha Crucis Group


On average, NHW admits 220 patients with neurological injury or illness per year, with up to 77 per cent of these patients having impaired function of their upper limb. 

To better serve these patients, NHW raised $350,000 through community fundraising and philanthropic grants to purchase upper-limb robotic-based therapy (RBT) equipment. RBT is an emerging technology that helps patients recover movement following a neurological event, such as a stroke. 

Previously, the only other comparable equipment was in Melbourne and it was only offered in three-week blocks, with the combined costs of travel, accommodation and the RBT itself making the program prohibitive for many patients.

NHW developed a model of care (MOC) that allowed more regional and rural Victorians to access RBT for upper-limb rehabilitation, reducing travel time and costs for patients while facilitating positive clinical outcomes.


  • Develop and implement a safe, evidence-based MOC for RBT in neurological populations within a regional health service
  • Increase the consistency and quality of neurological intervention received by patients
  • Increase the confidence and competence of staff to treat clients with neurological conditions
  • Increase the utilisation of the RBT equipment


  • Developed and successfully implemented a group-based MOC for upper-limb RBT, improving access for regional patients  
  • Achieved clinical improvements for each group under the new RBT MOC, with positive program ratings from the majority of participants and a low 6.8 per cent ‘did not attend’ rate 
  • Increased the therapy intensity and number of movement repetitions per session in line with best practice upper-limb rehabilitation 
  • Increased RBT equipment utilisation by 30 per cent 
  • Increased the number of staff trained to deliver RBT from six to 19


November 2018 – The model of care has helped NHW sustainably incorporate the robotic-based therapy program into business as usual and it has now been introduced to the health service’s inpatient setting.

Project summary

Video transcript

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