Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why WiiHab May Be Helpful Therapy In Preventing Falls

The Lancet published results of what researchers, observing falls in long term care residents, found through videos of the incidents. Take a minute to read the summary of this study (primary source: Robinovitch S, et al "Video capture of the circumstances of falls in elderly people residing in long-term care: an observational study" Lancet 2012; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61263-X.) as published on MEDPAGE. Interestingly, the study found falls in this long term care population occurred at higher rates during standing and transferring and at lower rates during walking, with a larger proportion of falls attributed to center-of-mass disturbances as compared to base-of-support disturbances (trips, slips, and stumbles). Therapy that includes Wii Fit activities like Ski Jump can be used to increase awareness of center-of-mass and improve control and voluntary engagement of muscles required in weight shifting. Through my experience, the elders seem to enjoy Wii activities. The video game format and the Miis that they can create, encourage them to invest a bit more in their therapy than traditional, repetitive therapeutic activities. Based on knowledge gained through this study on causes of falls, elders would benefit from targeted programs that promote more control of center-of-mass.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Research Supports Wii in Therapy

Falls in community dwelling elders concern not only those who might be at risk, but also the physicians and therapists who see the sometimes life changing effects of these incidents. Research on prevention strategies abounds. Many approaches show results in reducing risk. Many students choose Nintendo® Wii Fit™ as an intervention in their research. A physical therapist published his study showing improvements in all of the chosen outcome measures. He used Nintendo® Wii Fit™ activities combined with traditional activities in his therapeutic approach. A second study conducted by a graduate occupational therapy student focuses on the benefits of Nintendo® Wii Fit™ activities for a older adult with Myasthenia Gravis. Her research also shows improvements in outcome measures. A third study presented in May 2012 further supports using Nintendo® Wii Fit™ activities as a key component of fall prevention programs for reducing fall risk in older adults.