Video games shows signs of success for injury rehabilitation: study

 xinhuanet.com  02/19/2020 04:45:10 

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-19 12:45:10|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Video games and other common digital technologies found in many homes around the world, have been shown to help people in physical therapy learn to stand and even walk again, an Australian study revealed on Wednesday.

Virtual reality, video games, activity monitors, and handheld computers were all used in the study which is the largest of it's kind, involving around 300 people aged between 18 and 101, who were recovering from strokes, brain injuries, falls and fractures.

Those who used the digital devices in their recovery were found to have better mobility -- measured in walking, standing and balance -- than those who only used conventional therapy.

Fitbits were the most common device used in the study as well as Xbox, Wii and iPads, with the aim of making rehabilitation exercise more interactive, as well as allowing a better connection with a physiotherapist.

According to lead author, Dr Leanne Hassett from the University of Sydney (UoS), participants reported that the devices made therapy more enjoyable by providing a broader range of activities as well as better user feedback.

"These benefits meant patients were more likely to continue their therapy when and where it suited them, with the assistance of digital health care," Hassett said.

Hassett noted that even the older patients embraced the technologies and benefitted from their novelty.

"Participants loved Fitbits; one woman would demand to put it on in the middle of the night before she went to the toilet, to make sure all her steps were counted," she said.

While digital devices have previously been tested for their use in physical therapy, this was the largest study of its kind worldwide.

"This model of rehabilitation therapy proved to be feasible and enjoyable, and demonstrated that it could be used across different care settings, such as post-hospital rehabilitation, with mostly remote support by the physiotherapist," Hassett said.

"The study shows that future physical rehabilitation models should look at including digital devices to improve both inpatient and post-hospital rehabilitation."

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