The objective of the project is to provide motivation to pediatric patients so that they lose their fear of playing sports
Since September of last year, the Virgen del Roco Hospital in Seville has been conducting a pilot initiative to encourage young cardiac patients to overcome their phobia of physical activity and reduce their body mass indices. According to Inmaculada Guillén, the project’s primary investigator and a pediatric cardiologist at Hospital Virgen del Roco, certain outcomes have already been seen, including: “In general, the findings we are coming to are fairly good. She tells Medical Writing that more than 50% of the patients showed high adherence to the program and that of these, 80% had improved body mass indices and functional test results.
In addition, he adds that in the hospital they are “very happy” with how this initiative is going since they have not had “any adverse effect”. And that, “is already a success,” emphasizes Guillén. In turn, the main researcher emphasizes that the other 50 percent of patients have had medium or low adherence to the rehabilitation program. Half of them have also obtained “improvement” in functional tests since they have lost their fear of playing sports and have started other sports activities, she says.
This pilot project seeks, through video games with virtual reality glasses, to help train patients between the ages of twelve and sixteen who have undergone heart surgery. With this initiative, patients can do sports according to their abilities without leaving home, since rehabilitation is done from their homes, with remote control by health professionals. From the Sevillian Hospital, they point out that this technology allows doctors to carry out an “exhaustive” follow-up of the patient and control her physical activity.
The project helps to ‘cover up the lack of a rehabilitation program
“The hospital’s Pediatric Cardiology Service does not have rehabilitation programs. For now, we do not have gyms, trainers, or resources. Inmaculada Guillén emphasizes that although we provide some recommendations to the kids after their interaction, we have no influence over their actions. That is why she hopes to get funding again to carry out the program with more pediatric patients. She points to a future meeting in which they will assess the final results and find a way to “expand” the project.
In the case of obtaining sufficient financial resources, she Guillén specifies that she would like to involve patients of a higher age range, ranging from eight years to eighteen. All patients who are not fulfilling the objectives of living a healthy life and not being overweight should be included in the program, he argues.
New technologies and patient motivation, are “key” to the project
Turning cardiac therapy into something “really playful” has been one of the study team’s key goals. Guillén contends that because of this, medical personnel may oversee the entire procedure from the hospital. Guillén notes that there should be something that “reduces anxiety and fear of sports” that patients and their families might experience. The motivation we provide to young patients is “the key to success,” as “the fact that they are having heart surgery makes them afraid to start an athletic activity.”
In the pilot project carried out in the Sevillian hospital, new technologies have played a transcendental role. The Virgen del Rocío, however, call to “adapt” its use to the needs of patients, stressing that everything that can be used for their benefit, will be “welcome”. “It is a new world that is still untapped, and using these tools in health can be quite useful”, concludes Inmaculada Guillén.