Wii-habilitation helps patients at Cane Creek as therapist uses the game as a tool

Wii-habilitation helps patients at Cane Creek as therapist uses the game as a tool
Wii-habilitation helps patients at Cane Creek as therapist uses the game as a tool | "Wii-habilitation", Nintendo Wii, Cane Creek

‘WII’-HABILITATION THERAPY — Health South Cane Creek stroke patient Willie Flora tests his Wii skills at the facility.
An interactive gaming system that has players on the feet and physically participating has been popping up in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers across the globe. The marriage of the Nintendo Wii gaming system and rehabilitation efforts for a variety of patients has become so popular, it holds the title, “Wii”-habilitation.
Health South Cane Creek Director of Outpatient Therapy Lori Manley has watched the trend develop across the country. Manley took a chance and incorporated the gaming system into therapy sessions for Cane Creek patients. She claims the venture has been successful not only for the patients, but for the therapists at the rehabilitation center as well.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s good for patients that balk at traditional therapy. We feel that if we incorporate something the patients like, they will stick with the therapy more,” Manley explained.
She said many patients don’t even realize they are participating in therapy after a few minutes at the helm of the Nintendo Wii. The system simulates sports gaming concepts with the use of a handheld remote. By mocking movements such as swinging a bat, boxing or rolling a bowling bowl, players are forced to use their bodies in order to successfully play the interactive games the system has to offer.
“Every patient can use the system in some way. We have stroke patients with coordination problems that actually notice a difference with their movements and hand-eye coordination after 30 minutes of ‘Wii’-habilitation,” Manley said. She said patients in wheelchairs have also been successful at participating in the latest form of therapy.
While Cane Creek patients still participate in traditional therapy methods, the Nintendo Wii has provided “fun” options that allow patients to get excited about therapy sessions, according to Manley.
The system allows patients to personalize a character and saves progress throughout the game.
It also stores data that Manley considers “objective” about each patient that can be monitored throughout a patient’s therapy.
“This has the same principles and theories as traditional therapy, but patients can utilize the Wii and it doesn’t feel like therapy to them,” Manley said.
From speech therapy to improving hand-eye coordination, the system that is claiming the No. 1 spot in home video game system sales, has been effectively taking hold in the rehabilitation department. This month, the makers of Wii have introduced an accessory that is designed to track a user’s weight and body-mass index in an effort to appeal to women wanting to lose weight.
The Balance Board includes activities such as yoga and push ups as part of a global marketing strategy known as Wii Fit.
Manley said she has been paying attention to the response of the accessory and will be looking to add the Balance Board to Cane Creek’s “Wii”-habilitation therapy.
With efforts to continually expand options for in-patient and out-patient therapies, Manley said “Wii”-habilitation has been a proven success at the facility.

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