Bicycle and virtual reality to facilitate the recovery of patients in the ICU
The Hospital del Mar in Barcelona has launched an initiative that combines ergometric cycling and virtual reality to facilitate the rehabilitation of people admitted to the ICU.
It is a system provided by the German company THERA-trainer in the context of a research project that allows patients to pedal even when they are stretched out in bed and incorporates 360-degree reality glasses to see different environments in Barcelona.
Dr Judith Marín-Corral, promoter of the project and assistant doctor of the Intensive Care Medicine Department, stresses that using the ergometric bicycle “can be associated with a reduction in the time of mechanical ventilation and stay in the ICU” and that adding virtual reality improves the mood of patients.
The head of the Servei de Medicina Intensiva, Dr Joan Ramon Masclans, points out that the project “is part of the whole package of humanisation measures in the ICU”. This type of activity is indicated for patients admitted to critical care units in the very early stages of recovery.
“It is a device that allows us to motivate and make rehabilitation in the ICU more satisfactory, which is very important after overcoming the most acute phase of the disease,” says Sergio Delgado, a physiotherapist from the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service linked to the Intensive Care Unit.
Using the ergometer bike “can be associated with a reduction in the time spent on mechanical ventilation and stay in the ICU,” and the addition of virtual reality improves the mood of patients.
The initiative is part of a study project involving patients treated with the standard monitoring protocol, others with ergometer cycling and others with the equipment combined with virtual reality. The Barcelona-based company Realitytelling has made the video capsules that patients watch while they exercise, with eight routes through the streets of Barcelona, and they have synchronised the video with the pedalling rhythm to make the experience more satisfactory.