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Gaming For Better Health

A Westchase rehabilitation center is using the Nintendo Wii to bring patients back to health.

 

When physical therapy patient’s start playing the Nintendo’s Wii video game dubbed Tilt Table, they lose themselves.

Standing on a balance pad, patients work feverously to use their body, shifting left to right, in an effort to guide the ball that’s on the huge mounted flat screen monitor into the circle.

That’s just want physical therapists at  want them to do. They want the patients playing the game to forget that they are being watched.

“They get focused on the game and while they are playing, we are making assessments of their physical ability,” said Brian Creadon, an owner of Westchase Physical Therapy & Medical Supply. “The therapist is looking at the patient’s waist, knees, feet and the person’s body and how it reacts.”

Steve Caddick, a pharmacist, is also an owner of Westchase Physical Therapy & Medical Supply.

Caddick and Creadon, an 18 year occupational therapist, began implementing Wii-Habilitation about five years. In that time, it has become a popular form of therapy at hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes across the country. It’s used for people recovering from everything from strokes to broken bones.

The practice has become so popular that several online blogs, discussion forums and scientific studies have been devoted to the topic of "Wii-habilitation."

Several are cited at this online blog: http://wii-habilitation.blogspot.com/

At Westchase Physical Therapy & Medical Supply patients usually play games such as Tilt Table, Pigeon Slide, Soccer (where they are the goalie), and Snowball fight. Patients from the very young to the elderly are treated with Wii-habilitation, Creadon said.

It's especially helpful with the elderly population because they are often guarded about disclosing their physical limitations.

“With the Wii, they let their guard down and the curtain comes down,” Creadon said.

Located at 12625 Race Track Rd, Westchase Physical Therapy & Medical Supply opened in 2007. There are also locations in Lutz and Clearwater. Their establishment includes a pharmacy, medical supplies, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Wii-habilitation treatment incorporates bio-feedback, Creadon explains. If someone makes a movement, it shows on the screen. You can see them and learn good feedback for the patient.

“People come in needing crutches and they see that we have rehabilitation too,” said Creadon, a Westchase resident. “Our goal is one stop shopping but we serve the community we live in. We like the fact that we can serve the community right in the neighborhood.”

Becky Burton July 09, 2012 at 02:04 PM
It's surprising how physical therapy has changed over the years. Physical therapy used to be looked at as post-injury therapy, however today's Physical Therapists are using a proactive approach, especially with senior citizens. Proactive PT can improve balance, rebuild muscle and helps to prevent falls, which in turn prevent hip fractures and other debilitating injuries. Wii-Habilitation is just one of many ways this is possible.

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