As part of our series of interviews to celebrate World MS Day, we spoke with the physiotherapist Lorena de Rozas Bueno who is treating a patient who uses VirtualRehab at home as part of his therapy.
Lorena, can you talk about your experience of working with MS patients, and specifically with your patient now?
I have been working in neurorehabilitation since 2012 and I consider it a very gratifying job. In the case of Multiple Sclerosis, I think it is very important that the physiotherapist follows the whole process of the disease by providing different strategies during its course. It is vital to prepare individualized programs adapted to the needs of the patient, as well as supporting them throughout the process.
What is the role of exercise in MS treatment?
The role of exercise in Multiple Sclerosis patients is fundamental. An adequate level of activity directly influences their well-being and their rehabilitation process. It can influence the control of the symptoms of the disease or the search for alternative strategies to tackle individual cases.
How did you get to know VirtualRehab?
I first came across VirtualRehab at a center where I was working. I had previously learned about other virtual rehabilitation programs using the Wii, but I had never used it on patients. Since I started using VirtualRehab, I recognized it as a useful tool for a large number of patients as part of their rehabilitation process.
What were your first impressions of VirtualRehab? And of your patients who used it?
What caught my attention the most was the motivation my patients showed due to its playfulness.
What benefits do you think a virtual rehabilitation solution could provide a person living with MS?
As I have said before, the main benefit of using a virtual rehabilitation solution is the motivation for patients due to it being so engaging. For patients who have been doing rehabilitation for a long period of time, the process can become very monotonous and incorporating this part into their rehabilitation process could favor treatment adherence.
In your opinion, how can a therapist use a product such as VirtualRehab as part of the rehabilitation of people living with MS?
I believe that it should always be an adjunct part of the treatment, without neglecting the rehabilitation in the rehab center. It can be of great help for the patient to perform exercises at home, as long as they are supervised by the physiotherapist. This will give the patient the flexibility of doing it when they want.
Now that you are working with your patient using VirtualRehab as a telerehabilitation tool, from your point of view, what are the advantages of being able to use it at home?
The great advantage of using it is the patient decides when to do their therapy, depending on their physical and mental state as well as factors in their personal and professional life.
What is your approach to treating your patient remotely?
The objective is that the patient can continue to perform some of the exercises autonomously in addition to increasing adherence to treatment. I set the objectives according to the patient’s needs, adapting the rehabilitation to their situation at all times. Currently, some of the objectives we’re working on are balance while seated, reaching, hand-eye coordination amongst other things.
Would you recommend the use of VirtualRehab to other professionals treating people with MS as part of their therapy?
I think it can be very useful for patients who have been immersed in a long rehabilitation process in order to encourage motivation and adherence to treatment because of it is game-like character.