Virtual Rehabilitation a Reality in Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living Facilities

Two senior living facilities in the Las Vegas area have added a new rehabilitation channel to aid seniors in regaining physical and occupational functioning: Virtual rehabilitation is offered through a system called OmniVR, created by Accelerated Care Plus. The system is designed for individuals requiring complex therapy, including aging adults. OmniVR utilizes a 3D camera to track an individual’s precise movements, allowing them to interact in real time with a completely virtual environment. Assisted living facilities make use of virtual technology

Accelerated Care Plus developed OmniVR based on research that demonstrates that patients enjoy and are motivated by virtual exercises. The system encompasses physical, occupational and speech therapy with a complete set of skilled exercises therapists can tailor to patients’ individual needs by adjusting difficulty levels, balance, seating exercises and even cognitive activities.

OmniVR simulates a variety of real-world scenarios, enabling patients to improve their ability to conduct activities of daily living by working their way around a virtual kitchen or tending to personal hygiene in a virtual bathroom. Not limited to just the essentials, patients can tend to their own virtual gardens or play a virtual game of chase. Beyond the sophisticated (and fun!), patients can also participate in simple exercises. All tasks can be done from a seated position, standing at a walker or standing unassisted as ability progresses.

More than 4,000 assisted living communities, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are already using OmniVR across the United States. The system is best compared to the popular Nintendo Wii, which has been touted for its usefulness in senior living environments as a way to get residents excited about activity and up and moving in a fun and productive way.

Patients with dementia and those recovering from strokes, surgeries or falls–even those with degenerative conditions–can benefit from virtual rehabilitation. Like the Nintendo Wii, which has hundreds of available games and experiences, OmniVR has dozens of puzzles built in designed to aid and challenge cognition. OmniVR is just one example of the changing face of senior living, which is evolving from its perception of a static, sedentary lifestyle to one infused with modern technology and active adult living.

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