New cutting-edge VR treadmill for neuro patients at Castle Hill Hospital

Communications TeamNews

Patients recovering from brain injury at Castle Hill Hospital now have access to new state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) equipment to aid their recovery.

An innovative multi-directional treadmill system aims to transform the way patients engage in physical exercise by providing a fun and captivating experience that stimulates real-life challenges.

Whether it’s navigating a bustling city street, trekking through a scenic mountain trail, shopping at a supermarket, or even participating in a friendly sports competitions, the treadmill can replicate these experiences within a safe and controlled environment.

Castle Hill Hospital is believed to be the first hospital in the country to begin using such a system for neuro-rehabilitation.

Dr Abayomi Salawu, Consultant in rehabilitation medicine says:

“We are excited to introduce this technology to our patients. Physical activity plays an important role in the recovery process, and this treadmill offers a unique and effective approach to rehabilitation. By transforming traditional exercises into immersive and enjoyable activities, we aim to motivate our patients and make their recovery journey both engaging and successful.

“One of the key advantages of the VR multi-directional treadmill is its ability to simulate various scenarios that patients may encounter in their day-to-day lives, like a trip to the shops or a walk in the country. The VR multi-directional treadmill is a ground breaking addition to the hospital’s comprehensive range of therapies for people with acquired brain injury who need help with both their physical and mental rehabilitation.

“The advanced technology harnesses the power of virtual reality to create an immersive and interactive environment for patients, and by combining the benefits of movement with the engaging elements of gaming, this novel approach aims to motivate patients while promoting their physical well-being and coordination.”

Also used to create scenes within the movie industry, the multi-directional treadmill boasts numerous features designed to enhance the patient experience. With its advanced motion sensors and responsive control systems, it can adapt to users’ movements, providing an unparalleled level of freedom and fluidity.

Patients aren’t required to wear any special shoes. Instead, textile overshoes are used, that are worn above regular shoes. They can walk, jog, or run in any direction, challenging themselves at their own pace while being guided by the virtual reality experience.

Additionally, the system incorporates real-time feedback and progress tracking, enabling the medical staff to monitor patients’ performance and tailor their rehabilitation plans accordingly.

In an effort to ensure that the technology reaches as many patients as possible, Dr Salawu plans to collaborate with various medical specialists, who can leverage the VR treadmill to design specialised exercise programmes.

Dr Salawu continues:

“We are dedicated to pushing boundaries of medical innovation and providing the highest quality of care to our patients. The treadmill represents a significant breakthrough in-patient rehabilitation, offering a different and exciting approach to physical rehabilitation that promotes engagement, motivation, and overall well-being. We are collaborating with software specialists to create bespoke VR apps with local flavour and content to use with the treadmill”

The team on Castle Hill’s Complex Rehabilitation Ward are aiming to start using the equipment with patients when the bespoke VR apps are ready, and look forward to witnessing the positive impact this state-of-the-art technology will have on patients’ recovery from brain injury.