Did u know that only 10% of the stroke survivors have recover completely?
Yes, unfortunately, 90% of the stroke survivors suffer from physical disability even after recovery. Due to limited mobility after a stroke, patients lose their independence and quality of life if they do not continue therapy or recommended exercises. A new form of therapy for stroke patients has emerged through video games. Let us take a look at it.
Do video games help in therapy for stroke patients?
A study conducted by Gustavo Saposnik, Director of Stroke Outcomes Research at St. Michaels’s hospital in Toronto revealed this.
- 11 stroke victims with weakness in their arms could reach out and grab objects quickly after 2 weeks of playing active video games.
- In contrast, 11 stroke victims who played card or block games showed no improvement.
This study proved that video games could definitely improve the motor function of stroke patients.
How video games help in therapy for stroke patients?
Video games offer a challenging environ that induces the stroke patient to perform certain motor functions repeatedly even without his knowledge, thus improving brain activity and also exercising the muscles of the weak limb. These video games for stroke patients enhance the neuroplasticity of the brain and help it to reorganize itself to form new neural connections.
Types of video games for stroke patients
Video games have now become a part of the stroke rehabilitation centres and stroke support programs .
Gaming devices are of different types like a wand to sweep across or a glove with specific sensors to measure palm, wrist or finger movements.
A novel gaming workstation for stroke patients called Saebo-Rejoyce helps them to practise gross and fine motor skills using grip and pinch patterns.
Games for stroke patients include
- Recovery Rapids – this “at-home video game therapy ” helps the stroke patient to exercise his affected arm without using the strong one.
- Limbs Alive Circus challenge– this interesting games helps the stroke patient to control the circus performer using both the hands and is ideal for hemiplegic patients recovering from a stroke.
- Futuris Rehabilitation Gaming system – this VR game developed by Pompeu Fabra University used reach and grasp techniques in stroke recovery and helped patents to gain control of their upper extremities.
- The University of Michigan’s Stroke Rehabilitation Program uses games like Battlefield 4 and Rocket League to engage stroke patients.
- The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center has developed a #D gaming system for stroke patients. In this video game, the patient is immersed in a river canyon and has to row or paddle to get out of it. This involves repeated use of the affected arm , improving its motor function.
Why Video Games are effective in therapy for stroke patients?
Video games are effective in therapy for stroke patients because they
- Create excitement
The video game builds up an excitement urging the patient to play harder by moving their limbs involuntarily. the excitement also triggers the brain cells increasing neural activity which helps in faster stroke recovery.
- Employs repetitive movement
The game simulates an environ which requires the patient-gamer to perform some repetitive tasks. This repetition of tasks only serves to improve the brain’s activity and enhances muscle strength and nerve coordination. Patients tend to play these games without being bored and this forms a routine of regular brain and limb exercise which is a must for stroke patients.
These video games for stroke patients are very convenient as they can be downloaded on a desktop or even a tablet and played at home.
Video games offer an affordable alternative for stroke patients by helping them to continue stroke treatment at home and avoid hospitalization.
Video games provide new hope for stroke patients through improved neural and motor functions.