Thursday, October 16, 2008

Answering your colleagues' questions about Wiihabilitation Therapy

Over the past year, conversations with colleagues have often included several questions about the therapeutic use of Wii in various clinical settings.  Below are a few of the questions I frequently encounter and the answers I provide.  What are some questions you have about incorporating Wii into your program?

Will patients take the Wii seriously?  

Initially, many patients view the Wii skeptically, not unlike the way they view any therapeutic activity.  I find that many patients in rehab often seem wary of the treatment plan and at first proceed doubtfully through 3 sets of 10 of this exercise and/or 15 minutes of bilateral upper extremity reaching activities. However, in contrast to traditional, often repetitive, exercises or activities, the patients quickly begin to enjoy the Wii activities and games.  By using activities available in the training module of Wii Sports, a therapist can design a highly effective program to meet many goals.  For example, following joint replacement surgery, the therapist may wish to encourage weight shifting and increased standing tolerance, two outcomes necessary for increased independence in self care and home management.  The Wii Sports Boxing Training Module offers 3 activity choices.  The first activity is labeled “Working the Bag”.  This activity requires the participant to hold the Wii remote in one hand and the Nunchuk in the other.  A boxing bag appears in front of the Mii and by extending the arms forward at chest height alternately, the participant punches the bag.  If enough forceful punches are thrown, the bag falls from the ceiling, a bell sounds and the next bag appears in front of the Mii. 

When using this activity therapeutically, the therapist must monitor the patient to guard against over exertion, against loss of balance, and against poor body mechanics.  During the first attempts at this activity, fatigue may prevent the patient from completing the round in a standing position. Since this activity can also be performed from a chair, the patient may continue in a seated position affording benefit by challenging the upper body, overall endurance and sitting balance.  Upon completion of this activity, skepticism will be replaced by belief that the Wii can provide a very beneficial therapeutic experience.



Anonymous said...

I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure--which is:
Try to please everybody.

Michael said...

I find it hard initially to convince colleagues, but once they hear patients discussing it's efficacy using it at home, it sure raises some eyebrows.