In an initiative set to redefine how medical rehabilitation is delivered in Australia, the University of Newcastle (UON) has established a Centre for Rehab Innovations (CRI).

The future of medical rehabilitation will have an increasing focus on individualised residential rehabilitation, guided by biomedical principles and neuroscience leading to interventions promoting health resilience and patient recovery. The Centre would be the leader for the integration of innovative solutions including sensor-enriched patient engagement and other tailored technologies, in-home neuro-architecture inspired multimodal design; residential telemedicine and digital technologies, comprehensive allied health training and carer training processes. It will utilise local community-based infrastructures to deliver the individualised rehabilitative care at home, or as close to home as possible.

CRI’s mandate is to engage with industry and the healthcare sector to develop novel solutions that will help to prevent disease and facilitate individualised rehabilitation in residential and aged care environments and rehabilitation settings. Sustainable, effective solutions implemented as a part of long-term recovery strategies will add value to the traditional hospitals and practices, contribute to improved patient outcomes, and result in healthcare budget savings and reduced costs to the community.

Among the CRI’s founding members are Professor Michael Nilsson and Associate Professor Michael Pollack, both specialists in rehabilitation medicine, along with neuroscientist Associate Professor Rohan Walker and engineering expert Professor Sarah Johnson. They will also draw in expertise from a range of disciplines, including architecture, design, arts, computer science, programming, nursing, psychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and health economics.

The team has established active links with industry partners, placing the Centre in an optimal position to deliver innovative University-Industry solutions in rehabilitation settings.