According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 795,000 Americans have strokes every year. Rehabilitation specialists at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital (SJWH) are working with researchers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, to study how stroke patients may improve outcomes by using virtual reality games and robots in their rehabilitation. Only three studies of intensive hand rehabilitation in the first few weeks after a stroke have ever been conducted in the world. Facilitated by The Research Institute at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, the study at SJWH is the second of its kind to ever be conducted in the United States.
“Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability among Americans, and we are constantly looking for new, more effective ways to rehabilitate stroke patients,” says Supriya Massood, DO, Medical Director, Acute Rehabilitation Unit, SJWH. “The technology brought here by the Rutgers team offers a possible new approach to hand and arm rehabilitation, which may help patients recover faster, stay motivated and regain daily living skills.”
The team uses a series of virtual reality games and robotics to personalize rehabilitation. “We use this technology to adjust to the patient’s changing abilities and to make the rehabilitation more effective,” says Gerard Fluet, PhD, Physical Therapist and Assistant Professor, Rutgers School of Health Related Professions. “In the future, patients may be able to use this kind of rehab immediately in the hospital as well as at home. We hope to see faster results, with the bonus that the clinical team can collect data to further personalize the rehab regimen.”
Fluet went on to describe how SJWH was chosen for this study, “We looked at hospitals to conduct this study and St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital was the perfect choice. The high levels of communication and attention to patient care were what helped make our decision. Open communication is crucial for this study.”
For more information about the acute rehab services at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital, please call 973.389.4099 or visit www.StJosephsHealth.org.
Founded in 1867 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Paterson’s first hospital has grown in size and scope of service to encompass St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, a major academic tertiary medical center and state-designated trauma center, and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, an acute care state-designated children’s hospital, both located in Paterson, NJ; St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital, an acute care community hospital and division of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center located in Wayne, NJ; St. Vincent’s Nursing Home, a long-term care facility located in Cedar Grove, NJ.