In patients with burns, using the Nintento Wii appears to improve anxiety, active range of motion (AROM), function, and enjoyment at a faster rate compared with patients who do not use the gaming device, say authors of an article published in Journal of Burn Care & Research. Presence (immersion into a virtual environment) minimally changed between successive treatment sessions for those in the Wii group, they add.
For this study, participants were alternated and stratified based on the location of burn into Wii or control treatment groups. Joints of interest with limited AROM were the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. All participants received 3 consecutive sessions of passive range of motion and predetermined joint-specific exercises. This was followed by either designated Wii games or therapist-chosen interventions (control). Data from 23 participants aged 20 to 78 years were analyzed.
The difference in mean slopes suggested that the Wii group experienced less pain than the control group over time. Although statistical significance was not reached in any category, feasibility was supported, and the overall pattern for outcomes was positive for the Wii group, the most favorable being for pain reduction. Future research with larger sample sizes is warranted to explore best practice with video game technology throughout the continuum of burn rehabilitation with appropriate prescriptions, say the authors.