Northeast Rehab reports that the Nintendo Wii is being used as an additional option in the therapy process. “It gets people to move; they stand up, work on balance, weight shifting, endurance and strength while having fun in the process,” explains Pam Ayotte, Team Leader of Therapeutic Recreation at Northeast Hospital.
Although it is not replacing traditional therapies, recreation with the Wii can be especially helpful for stroke patients who have weakness on one side or visual neglect. Having to deal with moving the mechanism and pressing buttons to hit a tennis ball or bowl a strike etc., patients concentrate on the game and not their limitations.
Active video games are also being recommended for pain management, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and a wide range of diagnoses. Even speech therapists find the video game helps increase attention span, memory and ability to follow instructions. “We have even had a patient ask for a prescription to purchase a Wii to use at home for therapy,” says Pam Ayotte.
“Although that isn’t an option we can prescribe” says John Prochilo, CEO and Administrator, “we are excited to see patients making progress while using the Wii.”