Mary Free Bed uses Virtual Reality in Stroke Recovery

Mary Free Bed

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – It isn’t often you hear patients describe Physical Therapy as “fun”, but a new virtual reality program being used by Therapists at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital could change that.

The Real System uses games to encourage real-life movements.  Riley McCartney, OTR/L says the system does a great job getting patients to do dynamic movements, rather than simply raising arms up and down.

The patient wears a virtual reality headset and sensors on their upper body. The therapist operates the system through a tablet.

Stroke patients and others with neurological impairments can use the real system in their recovery sometimes without realizing how hard they’re working.

Meagan Berquist, OTR/L says, “it’s really fascinating because we can target challenges we’ve been working on with patients but in a different way, a virtual way. Patients work on trunk control, arm strength, and functional reaching.”

Mary Free Bed therapists will train on the Real System and begin incorporating into their practice over the next few months.

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