‘Wii-hab’ at St. Luke’s Hospital

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This &dquo;Wii-hab&dquo;is great for the patient needing physical therapy as well as those that need occupational therapy.

Physical therapy is the evaluation, treatment, and prevention of disability, injury, and disease using physical, mechanical, and chemical treatments.&bsp; Treatment may include heat, cold, ultrasound, massage, mobilization, and therapeutic exercise.

Occupational therapy is a health profession that helps persons whose lives have been affected by illness or injury.&bsp; Occupational therapy benefits people from newborn infants to senior citizens.&bsp; Occupational therapy helps injured workers return to the job and can teach injury prevention at job sites. Common&bsp;injuries that benefit from occupational therapy are hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder problems such as wrist fractures, tendonitis and rotator cuff&bsp;repairs.&bsp; Other common diagnoses include stroke, traumatic brain injury and other neurological problems.

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&dquo;The&bsp;typical stretching and excercise routine that helps those in rehab can sometimes be painful and boring.&bsp; The Wii should help&bsp;change that perception, &dquo; says Rehab Director Scott McDermott, Occupational Therapist.

&dquo;Using the motion-sensitive controller, Wii games require body movements much like traditional physical therapy exercises,&dquo; explains McDermott. &dquo;What&squo;s so great, is that while using the controller, the patient becomes so engrossed in the game, they forget they are actually exercising and performing their therapy. Since the focus is no longer on the repetitive exercise, patients actually do better. We are very excited to begin this rehab that has worked so well in larger facilities such as Ohio State University Medical Center, Walter Reed Medical Center, WakeMed in Raleigh and Moses Cone Rehabiliation Center in Greensboro.&bsp; The Wii is even being used in rehab as far away as Alberta, Canada and in England.&dquo;

The most popular Wii games in rehab involve sports ‐ baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis. Using the same arm swings required by those sports, patients wave the wireless, motion-sensitive controller that directs the actions of the animated athletes on the screen.

&dquo;The Wii has another benefit,&dquo; explains McDermott. &dquo;The gaming system can be used on patients of any age and will provide improved endurance, strength, coordination all while being entertaining. It&squo;s not only great for upper extremity exercises, it is beneficial in lower extremity exercises as well. Patients can use the Wii to work on balance, coordination and muscle strengthening. There are also benefits for stroke patients in regaining visual perception and cognitive skills.&dquo;

St. Luke&squo;s Hospital Rehabilitation Department provides a wide range of services. St. Luke&squo;s fully licensed staff strives to help clients identify their rehab needs and actively assist them in reaching their maximum level of function. Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy are all available for patients to be treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

The $1,780 Medicare cap on therapy services does not apply to hospital based outpatient therapy departments, such as St. Luke&squo;s Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation. This cap is a combined amount for Physical and Speech Therapy.&bsp; A separate $1,780 cap is applied to Occupational Therapy.&bsp; This means you would have to pay out of pocket for any therapy provided beyond this amount at any private practice setting if your diagnosis is not on a Medicare list of exemptions.

At St. Luke&squo;s Outpatient Rehabilitation, you can receive the therapy you need for your recovery without
worrying about paying excessive out of pocket charges, being denied coverage or having to change providers.

The St. Luke&squo;s Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation is now located at 799B West Mills Street, Columbus. For more information about the &dquo;Wii-hab&dquo; or any other rehabilitation services, call 894-8419.

At St. Luke&squo;s Hospital our Rehabilitation Department addresses one of the most important aspects of rehabilitation and recovery – the return to a normal life. This is just one of our goals as we strive to continue providing exceptional care, close to home.