New, at-home video game approach for stroke rehabilitation

March 11, 2022
New, at-home video game approach for stroke rehabilitation

Virtual therapy led to improved outcomes similar to traditional rehabilitation therapy for stroke patients, claim researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). The researchers have designed a video game using a motion sensor – called Recovery Rapids – that is hoped to help patients recovering from a stroke to improve their motor skills and affected arm movements comfortably at home. Patients using Recovery Rapids will check-in periodically with a therapist via telehealth.

Traditional rehabilitation therapy involves in-person appointments at the rehab clinic – it is very intensive, time-consuming and can be both expensive and inconvenient, especially for rural patients who need to travel long distances for each appointment.

Game-based therapy is a safe form of in-person therapy, known as constraint-induced therapy. Unlike traditional rehab home exercises, which tend to be very repetitive and monotonous, the Recovery Rapids game helps patients look forward to rehabilitation by completing various challenges in a fun, interactive virtual environment. Patients were noticed to adhere well to their prescribed exercises.

“The patient is virtually placed in a kayak, and as they go down the river, they perform arm motions simulating paddling, rowing, scooping up trash, swaying from side to side to steer, and reaching overhead to clear out spider webs and bats, so it’s making the exercises fun,” said Rachel Proffitt, assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions. “As they progress, the challenges get harder, and we conduct check-ins with the participants via telehealth to adjust goals, provide feedback and discuss the daily activities they want to resume as they improve.”

What’s great is that game-based therapy is also convenient, and saves a significant amount of money for the patient and time for therapists so they can see more patients.

“I am passionate about helping patients get back to all the activities they love to do in their daily life,” Proffitt said. “Anything we can do as therapists to help in a creative way while saving time and money is the ultimate goal.”

In America, nearly 800,000 people are reported to suffer a stroke each year: two-thirds of stroke survivors report they cannot use their affected limbs to do normal daily activities, including making a cup of coffee, cooking a meal, or playing with one’s grandchildren.

Read: New device for stroke rehab receives FDA approval

Category: Education, Features

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