University Medical Center Groningen at the Forefront of Translating Phantom Limb Pain Research into Clinical Care with Neuromotus

The University Medical Center Groningen

Dr. Corry van der Sluis, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine

 

As one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands and the largest employer in the Northern Netherlands, the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) focuses on care, education, training, and research. The UMCG not only provides patient-centered care but also aims to conduct revolutionary scientific and educational research on healthy ageing to build the future of health.

 

The UMCG is one of the pioneering medical centers that introduced Neuromotus to treat phantom limb pain (PLP). An efficient and skilled team conducts the Neuromotus project at the UMCG with a clear assignment of responsibilities and duties. The multidisciplinary team is composed of a group of researchers, doctors, and therapists. Since the first patient was recruited in 2016, UMCG has employed Neuromotus to treat several amputees with PLP.

 

 Dr. Corry van der Sluis, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, leads the team at the UMCG. Dr. van der Sluis specializes in the rehabilitation of upper limb disorders.

Dr. Els Keesom, Resident in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine

 Dr. Els Keesom is a Resident in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine. Drs. Keesom pursues research into the effect of Neuromotus on helping patients overcome phantom limb pain and improving their quality of life.

Paula Wijdenes is an Occupational Therapist and Hand Therapist at the Hand & Wrist Centre. Paula works closely with physicians and researchers to provide comprehensive care for patients.

 

In the nearly four years of using Neuromotus to treat phantom limb pain, Dr. van der Sluis’s team has yielded substantial results that demonstrate the rehabilitative benefits of Neuromotus. Their work also drew media attention and was featured on national TV, RTL Nieuws, and recently on Dutch TV.

 

How Neuromotus Therapy Achieves Inspiring Success at the UMCG 

 

One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare field is the translation of research into a clinical environment. Promising research failing to reach the target patients is a common occurrence. When asked how the UMCG introduced Neuromotus to their center without a hitch, Dr. van der Sluis believes the following three elements contribute to the therapy’s fruitful result of PLP treatment at the UMCG.

  

UMCG as an ancillary organization of the University of Groningen:

Employing a new treatment method to clinical practice is possible only when the executive management considers research necessary. The role of Neuromotus in assisting amputees with chronic phantom limb pain management is consistent with the UMCG’s focus on healthy ageing; thus, the University of Groningen has been supporting the team with resources and confidence from the beginning of the project.

 

A reliable team:

The team working with Neuromotus at the UMCG is formed by dedicated doctors and therapists who are genuinely interested and motivated by research. Their professionalism and enthusiasm have created strong connections between each other as well as with patients. “I think that makes a very stimulating environment for us,” Dr. Keesom said, “It is also why applying research to clinical practice act works so well in our hospital.”. Paula remarked that the therapists in the team work in close cooperation with each other. “We share information about each patient’s progress in therapy before the next treatment to provide patient-centered and high-quality care.” she stated.

Eva Lendaro (Chalmers University of Technology) and Maria Munoz (Integrum) with the Neuromotus team at the UMCG. ( From left to right: Eva Lendaro, Corry van der Sluis, Olga van der Niet, Paula Wijdenes, Maria Munoz, Betty de Jong, Marjan van der Groep)

 

Seamless collaboration between the UMCG and Integrum:

Integrum provides in-person training to the therapists at the UMCG with thorough instructions as well as treatment protocols on the use of Neuromotus. The team acknowledged the technical support with the system and software they received from the company. Furthermore, Integrum actively analyses user feedback on upgrading and improving the system itself. “The more our therapists understand Neuromotus, the better the research and treatment,” Dr. van der Sluis continued, “and if we encounter a problem, we always know Integrum will try to find the answer with all speed.”

 

“The patients we treated are the most motivated patients I have ever met,” Dr. Keesom said. “That also contributes to the success of the treatment remarkably.” Additionally, their patients express their desire to receive treatment at home and hope that Neuromotus can be adopted by more medical centers in the Netherlands, so that they can access the system more conveniently.

 

Patients who wish to receive treatment at the UMCG can find contact information on the center’s website.