There are many Multiple Sclerosis associations and centres around the world using VirtualRehab as a way of providing virtual rehabilitation to help improve therapy for their patients. The Multiple Sclerosis Association of Navarra (ADEMNA) in Spain is one such example. ADEMNA was one of the first MS centres that decided to implement VirtualRehab as part of their provision of rehabilitation several years ago and continues to use it to this day. We had the opportunity to speak to ADEMNA’s director, Josean Villanueva Oyarzabal, about their use of VirtualRehab.
How did you find out about VirtualRehab and what was the reason for incorporating it into your association as part of the rehabilitation process?
We decided to use Virtualrehab in ADEMNA because we learned about the experience that ADEMBI (the MS Association of Vizcaya, Spain) had with VirtualRehab, when we visited the centre and they showed us how they applied VirtualRehab with their patients. In addition, we needed to find some solution for people to autonomously expand their rehabilitation sessions. This hasn’t been totally implemented because the VirtualRehab sessions are always accompanied by a physiotherapist at the moment.
What is the opinion of your patients about VirtualRehab?
The patients say that VirtualRehab is motivating and engaging and that they are actually working without realizing it. They also like it when they can see the comparison with the previous sessions and therefor check their progress.
What do the therapists think about using VirtualRehab as part of the therapies applied?
Physiotherapists feel that VirtualRehab is an excellent form of training that helps to enhance postural and motor control. This can be done automatically (without having to pay attention to it) and in an engaging way. VirtualRehab also makes it easy for us to track and assess the evolution of the patients in the sessions.
How is VirtualRehab used in conjunction with traditional therapy in your centre?
We’ve transferred traditional therapies to train balance and coordination to VirtualRehab, which allows us to work on motivation and have greater feedback on the progress of each patient. We include working with VirtualRehab during individual physiotherapy sessions of mostly people who are able to perform the games while standing and who have some problems with balance, gait and coordination.
Are there any exergames that your patients particularly like?
The games that patients really enjoy are “Bullseyes and Barriers” and “Touch and dodge.” These are the games that require more activity and combine various movements.
What is your opinion about the use of exergames as part of the therapy process?
We believe that with VirtualRehab the therapy sessions are more motivating, and innovative for the patient, making their rehabilitation more dynamic. One of the strengths of VirtualRehab is that it provides quantitative results at the end of each game. This allows us to evaluate objectively the performance of the patient. It makes it easily comparable with the previous sessions and allows the person to be more ambitious and aware of their rehabilitation progress.
Do you think VirtualRehab helps imporove pateint adherence to treatment?
One of the characteristics of VirtualRehab is precisely that thanks to the playful element of gaming, it helps improve adherence to treatment and motivation.
Finally, do you think VirtualRehab helps imporove pateint adherence to treatment?
We currently don’t provide telerehabilitation using VirtualRehab. We need to explore it more, but we believe in its necessity. Rehabilitation at home could help complement the work realized during the clinical sessions thereby augmenting the intensity of the work.