Wii-habilitation: The New Rehab for Trauma Patients

Rehab is a critical care component for multiply injured or brain injured patients. A good rehab program optimizes physical, psychological and social function, and allows the patient to return to the highest level they are capable of.

Virtual reality technology is advancing rapidly, and hardware is now very inexpensive. This allows for integration of products such as the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 into patient care.

The Wii was first used for rehabilitation beginning in 2007, primarily for stroke rehab. More recently it has been used for brain injury rehab. The Wii balance board is very useful and a recent research paper showed a significant improvement in static balance in patients with acute brain injury.

As this technology continues to advance, expect to see further integration into both outpatient rehab and inpatient therapy services.

References

  • Wii-habilitation: is there a role in trauma? Injury 41:883-885, 2010.
  • Effectiveness of a Wii balance board-based system (eBaViR) for balance rehabilitation: a pilot randomized clinical trial in patients with acquired brain injury. J Neuroengineering and Rehab 8:30, May 2011.
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