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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ZippyDSMleeEh still rather subjective… the haters would be better off going after teen and beauty rags and magazines than fiction, fiction follows reality and going after fiction tends to turn into a bullying fest’s… plus its fiction its unrealistic to start with….02/27/2015 - 1:10am
MechaTama31That's a pretty difficult anatomy to break.02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31"the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy" <-- I'm sorry, but we are talking here about the woman who can roll up into a little ball and live to tell the tale, yes? ;)02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
Andrew EisenAs far as examples that could be culled from female game characters though, that one's pretty mild.02/26/2015 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenNot as much the heels or the suit in and of themselves but certainly the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy to show off her lady bits.02/26/2015 - 9:10pm
E. Zachary KnightWell, Samus's heels are certainly impracticable, but I wouldn't really call her Zero suit objectified. I don't really feel that the new Lara Croft is objectified either, but that is my subjective opinion.02/26/2015 - 9:08pm
Andrew EisenTomb Raider: No but we haven't seen much of anything yet. Samus: Yes.02/26/2015 - 9:07pm
ZippyDSMleeWould you call the new tomb raider objectified? WOuld Samus Aran from the new Smash bros be objectified?02/26/2015 - 9:02pm
WonderkarpI'm hoping they put the rest of the comic book ghostbusters in there. Ortiz and Rookie(From GB the game)02/26/2015 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpghostbusters board game is doing great. getting close too a 3rd extra playable Character. Ron Alexander.02/26/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenSmurfette is not subjective. If there's more than one female character, it's not Smurfette. Anyway, as with everything on the list, Smurfette is, in and of itself, not necessarily a bad thing.02/26/2015 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI think there's 5 women (out of 15, I think) but other than one being a bit more "hippy" than the others, they pretty much all have the same body type. Especially when compaired to the huge variety of male body types.02/26/2015 - 8:31pm
Wonderkarpso I dont see Smurfette as a bad thing. Unless like all your female characters are Smurfette. remember the Smurfs also had Sassette02/26/2015 - 8:29pm
E. Zachary KnightOne good example of the larger issues is one Anita used in the presentation, Blizzard's Overwatch game. There are a dozen men in the game with a dozen body types. But there are only 4 women with 2 body types, but 3 of them have the same one.02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
Wonderkarpthe smurfette thing is subjective to how many female characters you have. Take Sonic for example. You have Amy, who is obvious smurfette, but there's several other female characters now without that. Including the original animated seriescomics with Sally02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
E. Zachary KnightAE. Very true. I think that is where I was going, but it didn't come out right. Jack Harkness is sexy but not objectified. Whereas, a women would have to be objectified in order to be "sexy" in most games.02/26/2015 - 8:26pm
E. Zachary KnightAnd as Andrew pointed out, there is a big difference between a sexualized man, and an idealized man. But for some reason, there is no distinction between women in games. For the most part.02/26/2015 - 8:25pm
Andrew EisenI think one of the issues we run into repeatedly with these conversations is the confusion over "sexy" and "sexually objectified."02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightYet, for some reason, in orde rto have a sexualized women, she must be wearing lingerie or a bikini. Can't women be sexual and still dress for the job at hand?02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightThe problem I have with complaints of "sexualized men" is that men don't have to wear speedos to be sexualized. Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood/Doctor Who, was one sexy man, but he spent 99% of his time in a WW2 soldier's trenchcoat.02/26/2015 - 8:23pm
 

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