Video Games a Good Supplement to Physical Therapy for ICU Patients

October 3, 2011 -

New research published online in the Journal of Critical Care from Johns Hopkins researchers claims that video games are a good supplement to traditional physical therapy for patients in intensive care units (ICU).

"Patients admitted to our medical intensive care unit are very sick and, despite early physical therapy, still experience problems with muscle weakness, balance and coordination as they recover,” says study lead Michelle E. Kho, P.T., Ph.D, assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins. "We are always looking for creative ways to improve rehabilitation care for critically ill patients, and our study suggests that interactive video games may be a helpful addition."

Johns Hopkins researchers selected 22 critically ill adult patients to use video games over a one-year period as part of routine physical therapy. These patients were also part of a group of 410 patients who received standard early physical therapy in the medical ICU during the same time frame from Hopkins’ physical therapists. The patients in the study were mostly males 32 - 64 years-old and were admitted to the medical ICU due to such health problems as respiratory failure, sepsis, and cardiovascular issues.

Over the one-year period, the 22 patients participated in 42 physical therapy sessions using Wii Fit and Wii Sports. Almost half of the 20-minute sessions included patients who were mechanically ventilated. Participants played boxing, bowling and games that made use of the balance board. The physical therapists chose the activities primarily to improve patients’ stamina and balance.

"As always, patient safety was a top priority, given that healthy people playing video games may be injured during routine gaming, but when properly selected and supervised by experienced ICU physical therapists, patients enjoyed the challenge of the video games and welcomed the change from their physical therapy routines," says senior author, Dale M. Needham, M.D. ,Ph.D., associate professor and medical director of the Critical Care Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Program at Johns Hopkins.

Needham added that video game therapy activities were short in duration because the timing was ideal for severely deconditioned patients, and cost less than most ICU medical equipment. As an addition to regular physical therapy, the video games helped boost patients’ interest in therapy and motivation to do more of it. While the results were good, researchers cautioned that even more research is needed to determine whether the video games improve patients’ abilities to do the tasks that are the most important to them.

"Our study had limitations because the patients were not randomly selected, the video game sessions were infrequent and the number of patients was small," Kho noted. "Our next step is to study what physical therapy goals best benefit from video games."

You can learn more about John Hopkins research at www.hopkinsmedicine.org.

Image provided by Shutterstock.com. All rights reserved.


Comments

Re: Video Games a Good Supplement to Physical Therapy for ...

John Hopkins? What do those ignoramuses know?

Get a credible source like the Mayo.

Re: Video Games a Good Supplement to Physical Therapy for ...

They might have wanted to elaborate on what kind of physical therapy they were talking about in the title. As someone who has suffered two broken legs, a DDR machine might not be ideal. ^_^;

 
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WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Andrew EisenManhunt 2 and Hatred though? Eh, there's an argument to be made for the higher rating.05/28/2015 - 3:43pm
 

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