Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability in the United States. Each year, about 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks. Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists alike, will handle the treatment of stroke victims throughout their careers. Because some strokes occur in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls most of our reflexes, balance, and coordination, a stroke victim would need to work with their OT or PT to get their balance back to an optimal level. Until recently, determining a stroke victim’s progress has been limited to mirrors and guess work, which has proven difficult. The new tool of choice, for measuring a stroke victim’s progress, may just be something your children or nieces/nephews have been asking you for during the holiday season, the Nintendo Wii.
The Wii and its components (i.e. Wii fitness), have become a staple in many rehab departments. It is clearly a highly motivating tool, even for elderly patients, mainly because of its fun factor. Prior to game play on the Wii Fitness, you are required to create a profile in which your BMI is taken as well as a balance test. The balance test indicates how equally – or not- the participant distributes their weight through their lower extremities when the inpidual stands on the board. This is why the Wii has particularly taken off in the rehab communities, although there wasn’t a plug-and-play solution or a way for them to collect and store data for analysis at a later time.
A team of researchers from Notre Dame have solved these issues and are making it so victims of strokes can rehab from home with remote therapists via a new Wii game called, Wehab. This game utilizes the Wii Balance board to help those patients that are recovering from a stroke to regain control over their balance. This retraining is needed so that patients can perform even the most basic of tasks like walking and dressing.
The Wehab suite, which includes the Wii balance board and web cameras, allows therapists to obtain information on the patient’s movements. Therapists also have the ability to lead stroke victims through normal rehabilitation exercises on the Wehab, which then collects all data with customized software. This seems to be the ultimate solution for stroke victims to regain their balance for a multitude of factors, in which cost effectiveness and fun factor reign clearly supreme.
Here at Centra Healthcare Solutions, we have many rehab therapy positions just waiting for a skilled professional to fill them. Whether you’re looking for the excitement of a travel therapy job, the flexibility of temporary positions or if you desire a regular, full-time position, contact us today.