Virtual Reality Rehab Debuts at ManorCare Highland Park
Virtual reality isn’t just for Hollywood movies anymore – it’s playing a critical role in rehabilitation care at one Chicago-area post-acute care facility.
ManorCare Health Services–Highland Park is one of two area facilities – along with ManorCare Health Services–South Holland – to install an OmniVR virtual rehabilitation system, embracing a new trend in post-acute rehab and progressive senior care. The new technology debuted in HCR ManorCare's Highland Park location during May and is already a hit among the facility’s patients.
“We are thrilled that patients and therapists alike are recognizing the value of the OmniVR" said John Beach, president and co-founder of ACP, makers of the OmniVR. “We partner with nearly 300 HCR ManorCare facilities around the country, and we're particularly excited that the Highland Park staff has been so quick to adopt this new leading edge technology here in Chicago."
The first commercially available system of its kind, the OmniVR uses a sophisticated 3D imaging camera and proprietary virtual reality based software to track the patient’s precise movement in an interactive virtual environment. With the direction of a physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech language pathologist, patients use the OmniVR to participate in a variety of exercises and activities that are designed to achieve specific functional and cognitive therapy goals, but do so in a way that is more fun and engaging for patients.
High-Tech Tools for Today’s Rehab Needs
HCR ManorCare's Highland Park Health Services has a long-standing commitment to cutting-edge technology as part of its continuous improvement practice, and the OmniVR is a new centerpiece for its rehabilitation program.
"We have a very sophisticated patient population that is eager to embrace the latest medical tools and technologies on the road toward a speedy recovery," said Shelley Leverso, regional rehabilitation manager for ManorCare. "Progressive rehab technologies like the OmniVR are essential in that effort. We've seen that when patients are motivated and having fun they tend to put more effort into the exercise, which can help improve recovery and ultimately results in returning patients back to their homes," Leverso said.
Virtual Rehab Typifies Health Care Trends
With more than 200 units in operation throughout the U.S., the early success of the OmniVR system is indicative of the changing role of skilled nursing facilities in the community. With hospital stays getting shorter due to the cost reductions associated with healthcare reform, more post-acute patients are being admitted to skilled nursing facilities for more cost efficient rehabilitation following an injury, sickness, or surgical procedure. The use of more progressive rehabilitation technologies in this treatment setting is intended to provide new treatment options for this growing patient population.
The OmniVR is a great example of an innovative product that addresses current health care trends and the significant increase of patients skilled nursing facilities are seeing with more medically complex conditions. “Therapeutic exercise is a critical part of the recovery process that can contribute to better treatment outcomes,” noted Dr. Chris Castel, ACP's chief science officer and co-founder. "Unfortunately it can be a challenge to get patients to exercise enough – particularly if they're fatigued, depressed or in pain. Because they consider interactive, virtual reality-based activities to be fun and challenging, patients tend to exercise harder and longer with the OmniVR,” Castel said.