SALFORD residents living with dementia are taking part in a revolutionary, virtual reality rehabilitation pilot, led by a local brain injury charity.
Thanks to £500,000 of donations BASIC, a specialist brain injury charity based on Eccles New Road, have installed a Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN). This virtual reality system puts people at the helm of life-size interactive games and activities, exposing them to environments that are physically challenging without putting them in any real danger.
Using CAREN, BASIC has now launched a 12 month pilot called Virtual Adventures thanks to over £23,000 of funding from Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The pilot is focussing on 30 Salford residents living with mild/moderate dementia, with the aim being to help them both physically and mentally, and the long-term goal of proving whether people living with the condition can benefit from virtual reality.
This state of the art equipment, which is currently used by both the US and Israeli armies to aid the recovery of injured soldiers, has arrived in Salford thanks to BASIC, with the city able to boast that it is the first in the UK to make this equipment available to the public.
Wendy Edge, chief executive at BASIC said: “I am proud that we are able to introduce this ground breaking piece of technology to Salford, and I look forward to seeing it improve the lives of residents living with mild/moderate forms of dementia.
“Be it a walk through a forest or skiing down a mountain, people involved in the Virtual Adventures programme are aided in recovery and rehabilitation in a fun, stimulating and most importantly, a completely safe environment.”
Dr Tom Tasker, Salford CCG’s clinical lead for mental health said: “We were delighted to be in a position to fund this pivotal pilot scheme.
“Over the next 12 months, we’ll be looking at how this revolutionary technology can help both the physical and mental wellbeing of people living with dementia.
“Virtual Adventures is not only ground-breaking in what it can deliver, but importantly, especially for those people involved in this pilot. It enables them to exercise and receive rehabilitation in a totally safe and secure environment where they can feel relaxed in their surroundings.”
Joy Watson, a resident of Salford involved in the pilot said: “I’m really looking forward to being involved in this pilot as I’m fascinated to see how it will work and help me.
“It was great to discover that Salford is leading the way with this technology and that there is the opportunity for people living with dementia to be a part of an exciting new initiative that could change the lives of so many.
“I love the fact that this isn’t just your everyday run of the mill run around the park type of activity, but is new and ground breaking, and offers a great challenge, both physically and mentally.”