Valle Verde Introduces Virtual Reality Rehab Technology

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A Valle Verde resident patient simulates cutting weeds in a garden by moving left, right, front and back on the OmniVR Virtual Reality Augmented Therapy system.The Rehabilitation Services team at Valle Verde introduced a new technology for those residents who are undergoing physical and occupational therapy.

Last February, Valle Verde, which offers nursing care and short-term rehab for its residents, introduced the OmniVR Virtual Reality Augmented Therapy System, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation program designed specifically for seniors. The technology enables seniors to exercise harder and longer. Valle Verde resident patients who have used the system indicate that it encourages them to push beyond perceived physical barriers, while improving their balance, mobility, strength, endurance, gait and cognitive functions.

The OmniVR system follows users’ body mechanics and projects the movements onto a large screen. On the screen, the patient is represented by an avatar that simulates either daily activities or personalized exercises, such as walking, dodging obstacles, throwing, lifting and/or reaching for various objects, and turns the activity into an enjoyable and entertaining, yet challenging, game. It even utilizes cognitive language activities, which means it can identify sounds, allowing users to practice both verbal and physical activities.

While the technology is impressive and effective, resident patients delight in using it because it makes exercise movements very enjoyable; they say it makes them forget that they are undergoing rehab therapy. Resident Lois Merlo used the OmniVR system after she had fallen and experienced seizures.

"The OmniVR games require concentration and are a lot of fun," she says. "You really feel like you achieved something when you earn a good score. Everybody who needs physical therapy should try it—it’s great therapy and a good way to break up the day.”

Since the system has been introduced at Valle Verde, more than 40 residents have greatly benefited from it.

Justin A. Church, interim director of rehab at Valle Verde, has been using the OmniVR system on residents. He believes it’s an innovative tool to incorporate during the rehabilitation process. “With so many games in it, it keeps exercises fresh. It truly puts HumanGood ahead of the curve in the rehabilitation industry,” says Church.

The OmniVR system has been used to help treat stroke recovery, arthritis, neuromuscular disorders, COPD, joint replacement recovery and fall prevention.

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