Video Gaming Skills, Get Put to the Test at St. Joe’s

Shonda called her son repeatedly, but she couldn’t speak.  The words wouldn’t come out of her mouth.  She clenched the phone.  Still nothing.

Then she called her daughter over and over again.  Still, silence escaped from her end.  The words were stuck. Shonda’s children sensed something was very wrong.

“Momma, I’m on my way.”

All Shonda could recall was that she had just come home from work to decompress and relax by playing video games, but the rest was like a slate blank wall …she had blacked out. She recalled nothing by the time her daughter arrived. Thankfully, Shonda’s daughter rushed her to St. Joseph’s Hospital.  After a full examination and a cat scan, the doctor revealed to Shonda that she had just experienced a stroke. The right side of her body was effected and yet it was her left side that presented the symptoms. Since this was Shonda’s first stoke, she quickly learned that is what typically occurs.

The Rehab Team at St. Joe’s started working on Shonda’s mobility immediately.  They utilized this brand new technology to help Shonda regain movement.  She felt desperate to try anything.

The novice device they utilized was called the REAL system.  It is an advanced rehabilitation technology that uses virtual reality to help patients, such as Shonda to reach her full therapeutic potential.  Games are designed to assist the patient regain their motor and cognitive skills, functional tasks as well as reflexive movement.  Each game is tailored to the needs of the patient either making it easier or harder based upon their own level. Mike, one of her therapists, commented, “this technology makes it easier for the patients to stay engaged.”  Another rehab specialist, Kayla, remarked that “patients look forward to utilizing the equipment.  Without this technology, doing the same thing over and over again can get monotonous.”

Shonda eagerly exclaimed “We always start easy and work our way up. I get it, and then I master it! It doesn’t feel like work. I would advise anyone else who is considering using this technology to use it.”   Shonda showed off her vast improvement when her cousin visited her at the hospital.  Her cousin, who had two previous strokes of her own, saw the amazing progress that Shonda was making with this device at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  She wished she was as fortunate to have had this technology when she had experienced this physical downfall.

The St. Joseph’s Hospital Team Member also sees the tremendous success the REAL Technology in dealing with stroke patients. Ray, from the Rehab Team mentioned, “It’s a huge morale booster!”

Therapists can create fun-to-do, highly customized programs that keep patients motivated and engaged. The results from using the REAL system? It has proven to have successful treatment and improved outcomes for their stroke patients, like Shonda, giving them hope and a better quality of life.

By using the REAL technology, Shonda hopes that she will recover more quickly. She wasn’t expecting her video gaming skills to truly be put to the test, but she is lucky to have found a device that motivates and excites her to achieve her recovery goals. Shonda’s long-term goal is to walk down the aisle for her sister’s wedding in January 2023. The St. Joseph’s Hospital Rehab Team will be cheering her on when that time comes.