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Medical Facts - Lighting the way to rehab
If flashing lights and high technology aren't how you envision a rehabilitation center, think again.
"Dynavision can be used for children with developmental delays, persons recovering from a stroke or anybody who needs help recovering their motor or visual skills," said Karole Lieb, an occupational therapist at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. "It really has a wide variety of uses. It's a great new tool for us."
The system consists of a large computer-controlled board, filled with small lights. Patients use their upper body, hands and arms to reach for and touch the lights as they come on. The screen and the light sequences can be programmed to test peripheral vision, eye-hand coordination and upper body range of motion and to help treat deficits.
The rehabilitation institute, which is located at the New Ulm Medical Center and is part of Allina Health, installed the Dynavision system as an aid tool.
As an occupational or physical therapy training tool, the Dynavision screen can be set to build up a person's endurance, hand-eye coordination, upper body strength and upper body range of motion. The screen can be adjusted for height and can be used standing or sitting. By varying how the person sits or stands, balance and lower body control can also be improved.
"We can set Dynavision to test a person's ability to return to driving or to evaluate their coordination, endurance and balance," Lieb said. "By setting the screen to the outer rings of light, we can get patients to increase their arm motion or improve their visual scanning abilities."
A session to help someone build endurance usually lasts about four minutes, she said, whereas range-of-motion training might last up to 30 minutes and be done several times a week. People undergoing physical therapy use Dynavision in conjunction with more traditional exercises, she said.
For people who've had a stroke, sustained a head or spinal cord injury or have visual impairments, Lieb said, results with Dynavision can be seen fairly quickly.
"Some patients start to see results after only a few visits, and most of the patients really love using Dynavision," she said. "They find it motivating to improve their skills and have a lot of fun."
Though Dynavision units are used in more than 400 rehabilitation hospitals across the US, the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - New Ulm is one of the few centers to offer the technology in Southern Minnesota and is now also available in Canada.
"Dynavision started out as an athletic training device, to improve the visual and motor skills of athletes," Lieb said. "We hope to extend its use to our athletic trainers for working with their athletes in the future."
To learn more about the Dynavision program, contact Eye React and get started on a better you.
(Article from Alina Health newsletter)