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Practical play: Interactive video games appear valuable for ICU patients
Date:10/5/2011

Interactive video games, already known to improve motor function in recovering stroke patients, appear to safely enhance physical therapy for patients in intensive care units (ICU), new research from Johns Hopkins suggests.

In a report published online in the Journal of Critical Care, researchers studied the safety and feasibility of using video games to complement regular physical therapy in the 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 leader 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."

For the study, the Johns Hopkins researchers identified a select group of 22 critically ill adult patients over a one-year period who received video games as part of routine physical therapy. These patients were 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, mostly males ranging from 32 to 64 years of age, were admitted to the medical ICU as a result of health problems, such as respiratory failure, sepsis, and cardiovascular issues.

These 22 patients participated in 42 physical therapy sessions that included use of Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit video game consoles. Almost half of the 20-minute sessions, all provided under the direct supervision of a physical therapist, included patients who were mechanically ventilated. The most common video game activities included boxing, bowling and use of the balance board. The physical therapists chose these activities primarily
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Contact: John Lazarou
jlazaro1@jhmi.edu
410-502-8902
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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