HEALTH MATTERS: Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute utilizes new technology for patients

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Patients at the Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute are turning to technology for treatment. Physical therapists are now utilizing virtual reality to help with anything from range of motion to memory.

Lou Tretter, a Physical Therapist at Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute in Little Rock, said the new virtual reality program, REAL Immersive System, can be used for a wide range of patients.

“We see a lot of neuro patients so stroke, brain injury, spinal cord. We also see orthopedic patients,” Tretter said.

Each game targets a different area from range of motion to balance.

“Say our patient has difficulty with sitting balance, we have them moving forwards and backwards and reaching towards items,” Tretter said.

It also records progress and gives feedback along the way.

“So maybe they start out only being able to bend their arm 90 degrees and we can program it to, for certain games, that they get positive reinforcement if they get to that 100-degree range or 120-degree range or up to a normal range,” Tretter said.

While working their body, most of these scenarios also have a component to work the mind as well.

“To work on their memory or sequencing of different items,” Tretter said.

Some games are tougher than others but overall, he said this tool helps patients tap into their competitive side while making them stronger day after day.

“The more engaged they are in the activity, the more they buy into it, the more likely they are to reach the goals they are trying to attain,” Tretter said.

The Real Immersive System is now being used 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.



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