THE possibilities are virtually endless for stroke patients in Tamworth with technology paving the pathway to rehabilitation.
The hospital rehab unit will now offer virtual reality (VR) therapy for patients as part of a clinical trial and into the future.
The system, developed by Neuromersiv, includes a VR headset and an electronically stimulated glove.
The combined system allows patients to navigate a virtual setting while the glove helps simulate movements needed in real life scenarios.
Therapists are able to monitor the system remotely while it's in use, which could mean outlying communities would benefit from the VR technology.
Tamworth physiotherapy lecturer Luke Wakely said this program would improve the lives of stroke patients.
"The key thing with these is it keeps it interesting and engaging for patients," Dr Wakely said.
"The research says, to get better after a stroke, the patients have to do the same exercise over and over almost ad nauseam to get any benefit.
"Hopefully, this makes it more functional and more beneficial for the patient because it is more like real life."
While the prospect of outreach services was a boon for remote communities, Dr Wakely said the technology must enhance, and not replace, existing services.
One of the product's developers, Rohan O'Rielly, said the benefits were still there or patients accessing treatment remotely.
"It is better to have this type of therapy than to have no therapy," he said.
"The therapist, wherever they are, can watch what they are doing and the system guides you through the practice."
He said the glove and VR system could bring back hand function through restrengthening muscles and the nervous system.
Neuromersiv received a $25,000 grant from the state government to develop the technology.
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