Modalities of therapy are no stranger to new technology. Laptops, smartphones, video game consoles, GPS systems and email have taken the places of typewriters, stationery and Thomas Guides, making for an entirely new platform of interaction.
For those in need of physical or mental rehabilitation, speech-to-text devices and digital games designed develop motor skills are just a few of many tech-savvy, therapeutic enhancements.
Some occupational therapists are even using the Nintendo Wii gaming console as a rehab activity. When the Wii appeared in 2006, Nathan “Ben” Herz, OTD, MBA, OTR/L, bought one for his department to see whether it could help his patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He did notice some improvement and began studies using the Wii. All of his research is now based on virtual reality and video games. Herz discovered that when using the Wii, his patients became motivated, depression lifted, quality of life improved, rigidity decreased and patients became more mobile.
Herz believes there is much more potential to be realized using technology in rehab and says it also has been shown to produce cognitive benefits. Herz incorporates an assortment of Wii games into his clients’ schedules, including boxing, fishing, cooking and brainteasers. Using a Wii, he was able to teach knife skills to a patient without either of them having to hold an actual knife.
The improvement of technology for those in rehabilitation has permitted a sense of independence for people with disabilities that would have been unimaginable not long ago. There are now prosthetic limbs almost indistinguishable from the real thing. In lieu of crutches, people with a foot or leg injury now whiz around on a knee scooter while elevating and resting the injured limb.
For patients diagnosed with mental illness, imaging techniques have been developed to visually display the parts of the brain that are activated during certain tasks. These same imaging machines reveal parts of the brain that are inactive or active when exposed to certain stimuli as well as portions of the brain that have been damaged. The more specific the diagnosis, the more specific the treatment can become.
Treatment facilities now carry cutting edge technology to help patients deal with mental illness and addiction. Sovereign Health Florida incorporates technology to assess and treat cognitive issues to promote overall brain wellness. For more information on our treatment programs, please call us at any time.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer
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