Glen Cove Hospital’s new $11M brain rehab unit includes VR headsets, gaming

Glen Cove Hospital has opened an $11 million physical medicine and rehabilitation unit with virtual reality and gaming technology, a simulated kitchen and bathroom and other features intended to help patients with neurological conditions such as brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

The new acute-care rehabilitation unit includes 24 private rooms and two double rooms. Twelve beds are designated for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The 15,500-square-foot unit “was designed to provide a holistic therapeutic environment sensitive to the needs of patients with neurological deficits… to help patients reach their highest level of function and quality of life,” Kerri Anne Scanlon, executive director at the 247 – bed hospital, said in a statement.

The space includes features designed for older adults such as large wall clocks, handicap-accessible restrooms, nonslip flooring and handrails. The color scheme, art and lighting is intended to create a “spa-like atmosphere,” Northwell Health said.

The unit includes a main nursing station that provides continuous electronic monitoring of patients’ cardiac condition, as well as a satellite nursing station; three rooms for private speech therapy, neuropsychology and consultations; two physical therapy and occupational gyms; a simulated apartment with a bathroom, kitchen and bedroom where patients can practice hands-on activities to prepare to return home; and a space for recreational and creative arts therapy, including dance therapy.

The new unit is equipped with two physical therapy and occupational gyms.
Credit: Northwell Health/Lee S. Weissman

Its virtual reality and gaming therapy system is intended to make repetitive therapy tasks more fun, Northwell said. Patients wear a headset and body sensors as they perform activities meant to help with strengthening, coordination, balance and visual-spatial skills, as well as cognitive skills.

The unit “meets the growing needs of our patient community with complex, high-acuity brain and neurological disorders,” Susan Maltster, chair of the hospital’s department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, said in a statement.

In addition to the new neurological rehabilitation unit, the hospital also includes acute rehabilitation units designed for patients with conditions such as spinal cord injury, cancer, amputation and other orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions. Altogether, the hospital includes 86 rehabilitation beds on three floors spanning 57,500 square feet.

The hospital expects to serve more than 1,950 rehabilitation patients a year.

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