The term “virtual reality” evokes images of gamers huddled around new devices, Millennials sipping coffee as they chat about the latest gadgets, and technophiles miming about in space age glasses at popular events. While it might seem consumer-centric, virtual reality (VR) and its practical applications are rapidly being discovered in industries outside the consumer realm, including manufacturing, retail and healthcare. In fact, through the implementation of VR technologies, the landscape of healthcare has begun to transform dramatically, as physical therapist seek new ways to care for patients. Baby boomers are especially reaping the benefits, as VR has begun to play a unique role in physical therapy and rehabilitation (not to mention in such procedures as knee and hip replacement surgeries).
The benefits of VR in healthcare – especially as it applies to baby boomers – are undeniable, with increase accessibility, time and cost savings, the reality of its advancement in physical therapy is far more than just virtual.
A new era for rehabilitation and recovery
For years, traditional physical therapy programs have relied on in-person treatment and a combination of manual therapy and biomechanics expertise in order to achieve patient recovery success. However, the hands-on approach only occurs two to three times a week, leaving the patient responsible for the majority of the work to complete at home. With virtual physical therapy, there is more patient empowerment involved because they need to do more outside of the clinic but there are also incredible gains from in-home therapy such as faster recovery time.
Interestingly, more and more of the baby boomer population are becoming internet savvy illustrating the elderly’s willingness to adopt and learn new technology at a growing rate. With this in mind, and noting on some of the issues associated with traditional therapy methods, VR could have a very bright future among baby boomers.
Image Credit: Reflexion Health