Charity in Salford Offers Virtual Reality Rehabilitation

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Published: 10 Sep 2015      

A charity based in Salford, Manchester is making waves in the local area with a virtual reality machine that they are using to help rehabilitate people with neurological conditions. The Brain and Spinal Injury Centre's scheme was launched in March as a way to provide vital physiotherapy to patients in a way that they had never experienced before. The machine hosts a multisensory virtual environment, otherwise known as the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN).

The aim is to provide long term care for people who have neurological and orthopaedic conditions and is operated by a dedicated team that includes two physios named Sylvia Moss and Lizzie Allsop. In speaking to the press, Ms Moss has claimed that the machine is the first of its kind to offer a dedicated virtual reality treatment for patients and indicated that she is very excited about what it may help the team achieve in the future.

When speaking about the machine, she stated: "It allows people to exercise physically and stresses their balance and cognitive functions as well."

She also provided a little bit more information about how the machine works, for those who were a little more curious. Apparently the patient is asked to stand on a treadmill, surrounded by an enormous screen that curves around them, thus immersing them into the experience. Harnesses are used to offer extra support, allowing the patient to become completely absorbed by the virtual environment created by the machine. The treadmill will then begin to move and tilt, which improves the patient's balance by making them adjust to the movements, all while following along with the virtual reality that they can see.

Since its launch the machine has primarily seen use when it comes to treating patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis, or have had a head injury or stroke. Future plans include using it with patients who suffer from mild levels of dementia.

A spokesperson has said that feedback from the patients who have used the machine so far has been positive, and a full analysis is underway to determine what other functions the system could serve.


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