Researchers Creating New Advancements In The Field Of Rehabilitative Therapy

ike most fields in the healthcare industry, the Physical and Occupational Therapy/Rehabilitation field is reaping therapeutic benefits from constant technological advancements that assist both practitioners and patients in facilitating the strengthening and healing of ailing or injured bodies.

Keep reading for 3 of some of the most interesting advances in OT and PT today.

Therapy Basics

An Occupational Therapist specializes in treatment for recovering physical, developmental and cognitive daily skills. The Occupational Therapist performs an initial assessment as each patient’s goals vary. While both the therapist and patient work together, the achieving goal may be improving or maintaining current patient functioning levels of daily skills.

A Physical Therapist implements the same initial assessment, yet concentrates treatment on personalized physical manipulation and exercise while covering a range of musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiopulmonary impairment and improvement.

A female physical therapist performing a shoulder PNF pattern on a male patient. The male patient, who is in his late fifties, is lying on a treatment table. The image is located in a clinical setting. The therapist is in her early thirties.

Technological Advancements Benefit Both Patients and Therapists

One way both practitioners and patients experience improved therapy regimens is through modernized video concepts.  Researchers in the field of Physical and Occupational Rehabilitation have implemented improvements as a direct influence from video game programs. New concepts in Virtual Environmental Therapy and Virtual Rehabilitation Therapy, commonly known as VE and VR Therapy bring clinicians and patients a controlled virtual environment tool for stimulating and focusing on motor skills and cognitive tasks.

This advanced video concept allows therapists a complete program for assessing a person’s level of performance and function in a virtual environment. Not only does the virtual environment increase patient interest, participation and motivation, the new technology allows therapists a resource for treating patients at a distance. Many individuals in highly rural areas benefit without extensive travel to a facility. Studies show most patients perform better in their own environment. This concept decreases the number of people displaced from their homes at an in-patient rehabilitation facility.

Advanced technology is also bringing techniques in the category of iPad and iPod tools. Occupational Therapists implement iPod and iPad applications for a patient’s cognitive retraining regimen. No longer will patients wait for a scheduled appointment time for cognitive exercises when the tool is at the fingertips of the therapist and patient.

Additionally, ultra-sound and electrical stimulation commonly used with rehabilitation has improved with advancement. Although therapy has implemented ultra-sound for many years in treating tissue disorders, researchers are creating a combination ultra-sound and biological treatment for degenerative tendon damage.

The new programs focus on electronically detecting the damaged tissue, introducing biological treatment directly into deteriorating regions and using ultra-sound for breaking up and disintegrating diseased tissue. The combination treatment shows promise for promoting and speeding up healing duration as well.

The end result of technological advancements in this particular health area is that individuals and their families receiving Occupational or Physical Therapy Rehabilitation receive an extensive and detailed service at a much lower cost. The easy access also affords medical professionals an opportunity to assist a larger range of patients due to decreases in traveling time and cost constraints. Overall, the positive state of mind on the patient increases therapeutic improvement levels.

Jennifer M. is a blogger and physical therapy assistant from Philadelphia who keeps her skills current by studying the latest developments in healthcare technology.  In addition to her current profession, she is also studying for a Medical Informatics Degree Online.