Video games help rehab patients

By | August 12, 2017
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At first glance, the Michigan Medicine Inpatient Rehabilitation Computer Therapy Lab might appear to be all fun and games. That’s the intent. Many of the rehabilitation programs developed in the lab are based on gaming technologies — and designed to get patients active and engaged. Such patients include those recovering from strokes as well as spinal cord and head injuries.

Most are eager to get started on any given day, said Rob Ferguson, MHS, OTRL, a manager at the U-M Stroke Rehabilitation Program and an occupational therapy clinical specialist. The reason? Gaming promotes the repetition, intensity and task-oriented training needed to support an individual’s rehabilitation goals. It also offers a distraction for some patients.“They often have no idea they’re doing so many repetitions because they become immersed in the experience,” Ferguson said. “They lose track of their effort.”