LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Patients at the Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute turn to technology for treatment. Physical therapists now use virtual reality to help with anything from the range of motion to memory.
Lou Tretter, a Physical Therapist at the Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute in Little Rock, said the new virtual reality program, REAL Immersive System, could be used for many patients.
“A lot of neuro patients we’ve seen stroke, brain damage, spinal cord. We’ve also seen orthopedic patients,” Tretter said.
Each game focuses on a different area from different movement to balance.
“Let’s say our patient has difficulty sitting balance, we have them moving forward and backward and coming up with things,” Tretter said.
It also records progress and provides feedback along the way.
“So maybe they’re starting to just be able to bend their arm 90 degrees and we can program this, for some games, that they get positive reinforcement when they get to that 100-degree range or 120 -degree range or up to a normal. range, “Tretter said.
While their body is working, most of these scenarios also have a part where the mind also functions.
“To work on their memory or following different things,” Tretter said.
Some games are harder than others but overall, he said this tool helps patients tap into their competitive side while making them stronger every day.
“The more they participate in the activity, the more they buy into it, the more likely they are to reach the goals they’re trying to achieve,” Tretter said.
The True Immersive System is now in use in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway. Physical therapists will make the determination if that is the best course of treatment for each patient.