Skilled nursing facility physical therapist using ACP’s new OmniVR Virtual Rehabilitation system to engage a wheelchair-bound person in upper-extremity strengthening activities.(Photo courtesy of Hanger Orthopedic Group)

Medical technology developer Accelerated Care Plus (ACP), Reno, Nev, introduces a virtual rehabilitation system designed for aging adults.

With the guidance of a physical therapist, patients use the OmniVR system to participate in an array of game-like therapeutic activities and exercises selected for their specific physical challenge or condition.

Available for patients at skilled nursing facilities, thesystem uses a high-tech, 3-D camera and specialized computer software that captures the patient’s image-–or avatar-–in real time, and introduces it into a virtual, game-like environment displayed on a large monitor.

The camera recreates the patient’s movements in a real-time interactive experience to enhance patient participation and exercise compliance. The user-friendly one touch operation includes six therapeutic exercise categories: seated exercise, wheelchair propulsion and control, upper extremity, balance, walking, and cognitive activities.

Exercise protocols target large motor movements such as leaning, knee extension-flexion, reaching, sit to stand, squatting, stepping, marching, and more.

The system features adjustable levels of difficulty to match individual patient capabilities and exercise progression. The monitor provides positive feedback throughout the exercise session, rather than the win-lose approach used by similar systems that may discourage some patients.  The geriatric-friendly system does not require hand controllers, special mats, or platforms to stand on.  The ability to accommodate multiple patients simultaneously, makes OmniVR suitable for group therapy.

The system produces a performance summary at the conclusion of each session to guide the patient’s therapy plan of care and provide proper documentation.

Though patients may enjoy the system’s fun and gentle competition, clinicians and software developers created the programs to help improve strength, balance, movement, endurance, and the patient’s overall functional capabilities. At the end of each exercise program, the system captures the participant’s score to help monitor progress and motivate him or her to try harder during the next session.

Supporting the merits of virtual rehabilitation for seniors is the success of more recreationally based products like Nintendo Wii Fit, which use two-dimensional technology. These systems–designed for individuals of all ages and skill levels-–have been used with encouraging success in many skilled nursing facilities.

OmniVR’s programs focus less on outright competition, and more on the positive encouragement many geriatric patients need to get inspired about the possibility of recovery.

Nearly 4,000 nursing homes nationwide use ACP’s current medical technology, treatment programs, and clinical training, says the company,  which plans to make the OmniVR available to these current partners through 2010 and other long-term care providers beginning in 2011.

ACP is a developer of specialized rehabilitation technologies and a provider of evidence-based clinical programs and therapist training serving nearly 4,000 long-term care facilities and other post-acute rehabilitation providers nationwide. Its medical technology is also used in elite athletics including 100-plus professional, Olympic, and collegiate sports teams to help accelerate recovery and improve performance.

[Source: ACP]

Skilled nursing facility physical therapist using ACP’s new OmniVR Virtual Rehabilitation system to engage a wheelchair-bound person in upper-extremity strengthening activities.

(Photo courtesy of Hanger Orthopedic Group)