a smartPAC
Contact Advanced Tissue

Video Games Can Help Treat Burn Victims

Video Games Can Help Treat Burn Victims

  by    0   0

treating burn victims

A new study has found that certain video games can improve pain and functionality in burn victims.

Some people see video games as a distraction or at best a toy that offers little real-world value. However, if used properly, video games can have a number of mental and emotional benefits, according to the American Psychological Association. These include improving social skills, boosting learning capability and improving overall cognitive function. Video games may also provide the basis for improved wound care regimens. As The Star Online reported, Australian researchers are using the Nintendo Wii to help reduce pain in burn victims

Reaffirming control

The Wii was used as part of a recent pilot study from the Burn Injury Research Node at the University of Notre Dame Australia. The study featured 22 participants – 17 men and five women – who had burns on at least 10 percent of their body, specifically their hands. Even in the initial stages, the results were rather promising. After playing the Wii for just 20-30 minutes per day for a full week, the intensity of each participant’s pain level dropped by an average of 17 percent. Why did video games prove so effective, especially when standard treatments like cryotherapy and painkillers don’t always work?

According to lead author Dale Edgar, it all stems from nerve damage. Normally pain is a good thing, as it protects us from subsequent harm. However, in burn victims, nerves aren’t sending vital information and are instead firing randomly, as Edgar explained. This nerve damage often causes burn victims to have trouble with complex movements and even lose the inherent ability of understanding where one’s body is located both temporally and spatially. By playing the Wii – which causes people to move around in the real world as they play simulated rounds of golf and tennis – the patients were able to redevelop basic hand coordination. Plus, having a TV in front of them gave patients more direct feedback about the location of their body.

“We are trying to tell the nerves that they need to tell us where that hand is in space, how it is moving, and to give good positive feedback rather than the negative pain feedback,” Edgar said.

In the coming months, Edgar and his team will begin similar experiments using Microsoft’s Xbox, as the Kinect device operates similar to the Wii.

Plus one for video games

As novel as the Wii study might appear, this isn’t the first time that video games have been used to help treat wound-related pain.

As NBC News reported, a virtual reality system was developed in 2012 to help severe burn victims. SnowWorld, as it’s called, saw patients control a figure as it traveled along a series of Arctic caverns and glaciers. According to the team behind SnowWorld, the VR system was meant to serve as a distraction as people underwent wound scrubbing, dressing removal and other forms of burn-related treatment. And the icy interiors of SnowWorld provided to be quite effective. In a 2011 study organized by various military doctors and researchers, SnowWorld was found to be more effective than morphine in many cases.

The same premise that makes SnowWorld so effective – distracting patients – also led to the creation of the Get-Well Gamers organization. Founded by Ryan Sharpe, who spent much of childhood hospitalized, GWG refurbishes video game systems and sends them to hospitals worldwide. According to the Pain Resource Center, these kinds of options are especially vital for burn and trauma patients. Having a way to vent stress and something to look forward to can make hours of treatment and recovery seem far less overwhelming.

Ask your clinician which Advanced Tissue products are best for your wound care needs.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in wound care and register for our free educational webinars.

Register Now

Related Posts

4 Tips for Patients to Help the Wound Healing Process

help the wound healing processGood nutrition is important to the wound treatment process, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Clinicians know the importance of nutrition in the wound healing process. That’s because maintaining the right nutritional levels helps, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, a study entitled “Chronic Wound Healing: A Review of Current Management and Treatments” reported that […]


How Effective is Zinc in Wound Care Treatment?

how effective is zinc in wound care treatmentIn the treatment of wounds, the role of zinc in wound care still needs to be investigated. In the treatment of wounds, the role of zinc in the wound healing process has been highly debated. There are reports and research on the use of the mineral as both a nutritional supplement and as a topical […]


Hyperbaric Therapy for Wound Healing

Hyperbaric therapy is a less-common wound healing treatment that some patients may want to explore. Those suffering from chronic wounds become accustomed to a wound care regimen, normally at the guidance of their clinician. There are bandages to change, and a patient may require assistance in keeping the wound area clean and dry. To expedite […]


Wound Healing Affected by Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is not good for wound healing. Many Americans are cigarette smokers, despite health warnings and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. According to the government organization, cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, and increases the risk of coronary disease and lung cancer, among other conditions. Nicotine is also extremely addictive, […]


Positive Thinking Can Complement Healing

positive thinkingSmiling and positive thinking may help a person feel better. In the acute stages of wound care, a patient is most concerned with ensuring the area is treated by a clinician, cleaned, dressed and bandaged appropriately. After that, he or she can continue to follow care guidelines as outlined by said clinician. However, the wound site […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top