We live in such a connected world. The ability to get on a Skype call with relatives or friends across the globe makes us feel more connected than ever before. With data stored in the “cloud” we can access information from anywhere, virtually. The evolution of technology has affected the way we communicate, find information, purchase things and it can also change the way we access rehabilitation after a stroke or brain injury.
Tools like the RAPAEL Smart Glove and Smart Board are biofeedback devices that use virtual reality to turn the hand or arm into a controller for engaging training games. Through artificial intelligence (the computer providing guidance for a user’s program through a customized algorithm) the user is challenged to participate in training games that are focused on activities of daily living as well as more novel games.
How can users benefit from digital stroke rehabilitation through virtual reality?
1. Training games mimic everyday activities
Context and meaning are important components of the rehabilitation process. When an activity is in line with a user’s goals, it’s easier to stay engaged and connected to rehabilitation. Even if a patient cannot perform a task such as cutting vegetables, playing darts or fishing, they can participate in them virtually, using the motion that they have to be successful in a meaningful context.
2. Allows increased access to intensive arm and hand rehab
Between visit limits, challenging therapist schedules, travel, weather and other factors, it can be difficult to stick to a routine of attending outpatient therapy appointments. Using a digital rehab solution like the Smart Glove or Smart Board, allows users to continue intensive, repetitive practice from the comfort of their home, even when they can’t make it to a therapy appointment.
3. Provides motivation through progress tracking
Digital rehabilitation options allow for measurement and tracking of small changes that may be difficult to capture with the eye. This provides motivation for users to see their progress over a period of time. In addition, in the hands of a therapist, the data can be used to justify continued services and to show improvement in a more objective way.
To read more about Virtual Reality and Occupational Therapy, check out this blog post by our Clinical Manager, Lauren Sheehan, OTD, OTR/L. The American Occupational Therapy Association also wrote a recent article about using Virtual Reality in Your OT Practice. To learn more about our virtual reality RAPAEL Smart Rehab products, visit rapaelhome.com or call us at 888-623-8984.