‘Wii-habilitation’ first for hospital

Solihull Hospital is one of the first in the region to install a Nintendo Wii in the physiotherapy gym, to help patients recovering from a stroke, or those with Parkinson’s disease. Since 2008 there have been investigations into the effect the Wii training would have on recovering patients. In Manchester, a boy suffering from extreme burns – after being struck by lightning – was put on a Wii physiotherapy scheme which was deemed successful. Hospitals in Germany and the USA have also helped stroke patients regain movement in their arms and legs through Wii training.

Rachael Morris, ward manager at Solihull Hospital, said: “Many people think it’s just a game and don’t realise the benefits it can give in helping patients exercise, re-learn new skills, build muscles, and increase confidence.” One particular game for the Wii, Wii Fit, has a ‘balance board’ accessory which helps the patients regain their balance, which could be lost following trauma. Ms Morris said that this is good for patients who are susceptible to falls, as they are tested on their balance, posture, and positioning, in a fun way. There are now plans to introduce the console to physiotherapy departments at the Good Hope and Heartlands hospitals.