Rehabilitation through virtual reality: physical activity of patients admitted to the intensive care unit

ABSTRACT Objective: To evaluate the level of activity that Nintendo WiiTM can elicit in intensive care unit patients and its associated safety and patient satisfaction. Methods: Experimental, single-center study performed at a tertiary care hospital. Patients ≥ 18 years old who were admitted to the intensive care unit, participated in videogames as part of their physical therapy sessions and did not have mobility restrictions were included. Th exclusion criteria were the inability to comprehend instructions and the inability to follow simple commands. We included n = 60 patients and performed 100 sessions. We used the Nintendo WiiTM gaming system in the sessions. An accelerometer measured the level of physical activity of patients while they played videogames. We evaluated the level of activity, the modified Borg scale scores, the adverse events and the responses to a questionnaire on satisfaction with the activity. Results: One hundred physical therapy sessions were analyzed. When the patients played the videogame, they reached a light level of activity for 59% of the session duration and a moderate level of activity for 38% of the session duration. No adverse events occurred. A total of 86% of the patients reported that they would like to play the videogame in their future physical therapy sessions. Conclusion: Virtual rehabilitation elicited light to moderate levels of activity in intensive care unit patients. This therapy is a safe tool and is likely to be chosen by the patient during physical therapy.