Gesturetek Health - Beth Abraham Health Services

Beth Abraham Health Services


IREX helps patients in both short-term and long-term rehabilitation programs at Beth Abraham Health Services


Beth Abraham Health Services, a not-for-profit organization, is one of the largest long-term care service providers in New-York State, serving all of New York City, as well as Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.


The organization, known for its use of leading-edge healthcare technologies, was the first in New York City to install GestureTek Health's Immersive Rehabilitation and Exercise System (IREX) in one of its skilled nursing facilities, Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation (CNR). Today, four IREX systems can be found in the rehabilitation departments at various Beth Abraham facilities, serving patients in both short-term and long-term rehabilitation programs.


IREX 1.0, Juggler


“IREX is something that is cognitive, functional and physical rolled into one and that makes it different.”

Randy Palmaira
Corporate Director of Rehabilitation for Beth Abraham Health Services


The IREX features several different clinician-selected programs, such as soccer, snowboarding and laundry-sorting games, which target specific muscle groups. The system also uses gesture-sensing technology to measure patients’ movements.


Unlike traditional rehabilitation where the therapist must interrupt patients’ movements to take goniometric measurements, the virtual system incorporates a virtual goniometer that is displayed on-screen. Programs can be set for a bell to ring when patients have reached a specific functional target, such as 90° of knee flexion. The system also has a deflection mode which determines the amount of force a patient is exerting. In addition, a report is printed at the end of each session detailing the patient’s accuracy during the program.


IREX 1.0, Birds and Balls


Patient reaction to the IREX system is very positive, according to Palmaira. "When patients are first introduced to the system, they are excited and intrigued to see what it has to offer," he said. "When they see how much progress they are making, other benefits, such as increased compliance and adherence to therapy regimes, increased enjoyment and desire to engage in the exercise, and even pain diversion, become evident as well."


Beth Abraham Health Services, Courtesy of Panoramio

Patients have a great time watching themselves on a large screen during therapeutic work sessions using the IREX.


IREX uses immersive video gesture control technology to place patients into virtual scenarios where they are guided through clinician-prescribed exercise regimes to test single or combined joint movement, or full body function. More than 20 IREX applications come included with the system, each designed to target specific areas of the body. Patients have fun and gain a sense of control and achievement, while at the same time improving their abilities in everything from balance and trunk control to mobility and executive functioning.


“We put the patient in a computer-generated world that allows for isolated or combined joint movement or even full-bodied functional movements,” Randy Palmaira, Corporate Director of Rehabilitation for Beth Abraham Health Services, told Orthopedics Today. “The system also compiles data based on these movements for the therapist.” His center is the first health care facility in New York City to offer virtual rehabilitation.


IREX 1.0, Formula Racing


While virtual reality entertainment systems display animated characters on-screen in the place of the patient, Palmaira noted that the IREX system projects a real-time camera image of the patient. Programs that require patients to sort items, such as colored and white laundry, also focus on executive functioning.


He explains that virtual rehabilitation systems can be beneficial for patients who have neurological impairment, have undergone an amputation or have had any surgical procedure that resulted in weight-bearing restrictions, such as fractures and total hip and knee replacements.


“Oftentimes, what we observe is that after three sessions, the patients will improve their balance,” Palmaira said


IREX 1.0, Conveyor


Palmaira explains, "research on stroke rehabilitation showed that video game-based therapy can enhance patient effort and motivation during physical therapy sessions. Research on GestureTek Health, featured on the American Heart Association website and elsewhere, convinced us that the company has an established healthcare customer base and extensive experience in touch-free interactive technology. So when we were looking for a motivational and engaging interactive system to enhance our therapy programs, we turned to GestureTek Health."