Video games -- often regarded as nothing more than mindless entertainment for lethargic kids and teens -- are proving to be an effective, new tool to motivate patients to perform rehabilitation exercises. Rehabilitation therapists from the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center are using the motion-sensitive Nintendo Wii video game console, along with traditional methods, to help patients recover from life-changing injuries.
Patients hold wireless remotes that control actions on screen. Players swing the controller to simulate realistic motions, like swinging a tennis racquet, swatting a baseball for a home run, among countless other motions. For burn patients or any patient with a skin graft, moving and stretching the skin is very painful, but imperative for a successful recovery.