People who suffer from an injury, a tragedy or a physical impairment often take physical therapy. Although traditional physical therapy is used, some physical therapists find it beneficial to engage the interest of their patients in fun, entertaining ways, which not only help in the rehabilitation process, but also motivate the patient. One effective way of doing this is by playing on special video console games that help in the rehab but also allow patients to have fun.
The integration of video games in physical therapy is having such a positive effect on the rehab process that many physical therapy assistant schools now offer lists of recommended games to students as additional reference material. Below are some traditional and rehab specific games and what they can do for physical therapists in their work.
The Hand Rehabilitation System: Rutgers engineers actually modified an Xbox gaming console as well as an Essential Reality P5 glove controller to help rehabilitate post stroke patients. This new virtual reality system helps detect finger and wrist motions to manipulate on-screen images.
Walking Improvement: This game invented by Kari Dunning helps stroke victims learn and improve their walking skills.
Game Wheels: This interactive video helps patients with spinal cord injuries, making it interesting for them to play physically active games.
Cyber Learning Technology: This video game method includes using car racing, and other video games that improve neuro-hand coordination.
When a physical therapy assistant doesn’t have any video game consoles made especially for physical therapy, he or she may use standard game consoles like the Wii, PlayStation or Xbox to motivate and rehabilitate patients. The following are games that adapt well to the needs of any physical therapist assistant.
- Trauma Center: This Wii game helps improve motor skills.
- Mario Party: With this game you can let many patients play at the same time and enjoy their small game successes.
- Wii Boxing: The perfect game for patients who miss the challenge of participating in sports. The game helps them focus their thoughts, balance and eye hand coordination.
- Wii Bowling: Even the most challenged of rehabilitation patients, including those in wheelchairs can enjoy the fun of bowling with this game which helps promote upper body exercise.
- Dance Dance Revolution: This game helps patient’s concentrate on increasing leg movement in a fast paced and fun environment.
The following games may be more appropriate for mental health rehabilitation:
- Lumosity: This is a brain training game that helps a patient reclaim control over their brain.
- HalfLife and Unreal Tournament: This type of game can help people who have problems with phobias like a fear of spiders or claustrophobia.
Games that promote self esteem, work with speech or work on a special technique are also beneficial for patients as they tend to have higher self esteem, better speech patterns and learn new activities through the use of video games.
Using video game consoles in physical rehabilitation programs is fairly easy and many games will adapt to the patients needs.