Melly said the use of Jintronix at the New Jewish Home has resulted in a 60 percent reduction in rehospitalizations of these patients.
“The more engaged the patient is, the better their outcome is,” Melly said.
At the center, Melly said you will see others in the rehabilitation room or patient’s families gather around to cheer on the patient as they go for soccer goals or reach the pinnacle of a rock climb.
“How much fun is that?” she said.
On this day, Brown scored a 6 out of 6 in soccer and 5 out of 6 in skiing. When he leaves the facility, Brown said he plans on buying a Wii videogame console to keep up with his therapy.
“It’s something I can do at home,” he said.
Evin said Jintronix is actually safer than a Wii for people like Brown because the program is tailored to the patient and the patient’s progress is monitored by their health team and tracked.
Bartels said there is “a lot of activity” in the field of telerehabilitation and there are other similar programs in development. He points to the future in sensors.
At Northeastern University, researchers are studying the use of sensors in ceilings to track a person’s movement, their gait, and their level of exercise. He said a person’s gait tells a lot about a person’s health. He said it’s one thing to watch a person walk across the room once for the doctor – it’s another thing to watch a person walk 50 times back and forth a day between the bedroom and the kitchen.
“A slower gait may mean an infection or something with medication and side effects or they’re depressed,” Bartels said.
At the Dartmouth Institute they are using sensors to monitor overweight elders.
Melly said she expects the New Jewish Home to be using more of this type of technology in the future.
“It’s the case of technology finally catching up with the medical needs,” she said.
Silver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday news report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire’s aging population and seeking out solutions. Union Leader reporter Gretchen Grosky would like to hear from readers about issues related to aging. She can be reached at email@example.com or (603) 206-7739. See more at www.unionleader.com/aging.