A number of New Jersey nursing homes are using a multi-player gaming program by Restore Skills, which helps patients conquer their physical therapy goals while also staying connected to loved ones.

Cheri Shefler, speech language pathologist and director of rehabilitation at Willow Springs Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Brick, said therapists can use this software to work with patients, adding a different modality rather than doing the mundane rowing and weightlifting exercises. It gives them a nice interactive component, which many patients enjoy.

The program resembles something like the Wii gaming system.

The patient can use their arms to go left and right and build their range of motion. They can bend their knees and go left and right like they're skiing.

She said the Brick facility has been using this system for well over a year.

During the year, there are different games and tournaments. Just recently for St. Patrick's Day, there was a Plinko tournament. She said the patients went live with head-to-head competitions with patients from other facilities. Each day there was a prize and at the end of the week, the facility with the highest score got a pizza party.

The interactive program also helps with cognitive learning with things like pill organization and management.

There's sequencing components where the patient has to build a burger depending on the bun, the burger, the lettuce or the tomato. The patient has to remember this order which, in turn, helps sharpen their memory and recall.

The Restore Skills program also helps patients connect with loved ones with a new feature called "Restore Together." It allows the patients to do live-play with their family at home. A private room is then set up with what is similar to a Zoom call. The family member can play at home and the patient plays at the facility. A camera allows them see each other and interact.

iPads and laptops are available for the patients to take part in Restore Skills. Patients can also use the program at home.

"Overall, Restore Skills and having a different way of reaching a patient's max potential so they can go home safely with their loved ones, helps with that. I plan on continuing to use it daily," said Shefler.

NJ Locations using Restore Skills

  • Sycamore Living at East Hanover
  • Oakland Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center
  • Jewish Home for Rehabilitation & Nursing – Freehold Township
  • Coral Harbor Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center – Neptune City
  • Spring Grove Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center - New Providence
  • Laurel Brook Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center – Mt. Laurel
  • Willow Springs Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center - Brick
  • Crest Pointe Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center – Point Pleasant
  • Arbor Ridge Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center - Wayne
  • Cambridge Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center - Moorestown

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