CAMDEN, NJ — Patients recovering from a stroke will now be able to take advantage of a new Virtual Reality system at Camden’s Cooper Health Care, the hospital announced Thursday. 

It marks a world debut for the technology.

“As an academic health system and a leading provider of advanced stroke and neurological services, we are committed to adding promising new treatment modalities to our complement of therapies,” said Tudor Jovin, chief and chairman of the Cooper Neurological Institute.

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Cooper worked with California-based medical device producer, Penumbra, to research and develop The REAL Immersive System.

“Virtual Reality is an emerging new approach to treatment in stroke rehabilitation settings,” added Jovin. “We are proud of our role in the development of this new system and are excited to be the first hospital in the world to use it with our patients.”

Patients using the system do so in a seated position with the help of a trained rehabilitation medical professional.

The user wears a wireless head-mounted display and series of sensors while using the REAL System - able to explore their surroundings by simply looking around. The therapist - which controls a handheld tablet — can then manipulate the environment from a series of interactive activities.

“The system monitors and securely records objective data for the patient’s record," said Dave Owens, director of Rehabilitation Services at Cooper.

Rohini Kumar, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Cooper, said that following a stroke, task-oriented exercises can help the brain “rewire itself and form new neural connections [through] a concept known as neuroplasticity."

He explained: “We want to enhance a patient's motor recovery by focusing on stimulating exercises that are both purposeful and engaging.  With the help of Penumbra and the REAL system, we will be able to augment the patient's recovery from bedside to our outpatient clinics. We are excited to see the potential of VR in our stroke patients and other neurologic conditions.”

Adam Elsesser, Chairman and CEO of Penumbra, said field tests at Cooper prior to Thursday’s launch proved the system’s “usefulness” 

“We look forward to continuing the partnership as we learn more about how this product impacts patient recovery and therapy delivery,” Elsesser added.