25 October 2008

Wii used in hospital physiotherapy

Nathan Ellis, 12, with physios Zoe Pilborough and Julie Sutcliffe

By Aasma Day
When 12-year-old Nathan Ellis was knocked over by a car he suffered devastating injuries and was lucky to live.
The youngster then faced 12 months of intensive physiotherapy to regain full use of his shattered limbs.

But it was then that Nathan, of Ashton, Preston, came up with a bright idea to make the exercises and treatment more fun.

And his concept of using the highly contagious Wii Fit computer game for treatment proved such a success it has now been introduced for patients in both the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals

The Nintendo Wii Fit is a video game which encourages exercise through active games interacting with the screen.

It has now been introduced into physiotherapy departments to aid the rehabilitation of young patients.

Nathan was knocked down by a car on Riversway, Preston, in September 2007 and broke both his legs and his right arm.

Nathan said: "I had a severe accident. I was in hospital for two weeks and had 12-months' physiotherapy and support to help get fit and get my mobility back and now I'm walking and back to normal.

"I thought it would be a good idea to get a Wii Fit for patients like me to help with their exercises. I'm pleased it is here and it's great fun."

As a result of Nathan's brainwave, staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have purchased two consoles and the fitness games to benefit youngsters undergoing treatment.

Lesley Walters, head of physiotherapy at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We provide a paediatric and adolescent physiotherapy service.

"One of our patients suggested it would be a good idea and new and fun way to get youngsters to undertake physiotherapy.

"Physiotherapy sessions for children and young people often use play or diversion techniques to get them to overcome any discomfort or stiffness they may feel.

"Wii Fit is a great way of using computer games to stimulate interest while performing exercises which can be uncomfortable.

"We encourage people to have fun while undergoing physiotherapy and the use of a computer games console which encourages fitness is a fantastic innovation for physiotherapy.

"Two consoles have been purchased and we will be using them in our paediatric and adolescent physiotherapy services at Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals.

"It is being used in an increasing number of NHS Physiotherapy departments and I'm sure that it will prove very popular in Lancashire."

The consoles were bought with funds from the Incubator Appeal which uses donated loose change, old money and foreign currency for good causes at the trust.


  1. I believe this is an effective way to
    make Physiotherapy more interesting, so children can enjoy it as well as reap all the medical benefits.

  2. Hello Physiotherapist perth,

    Many thanks for your comment, I couldnt agree with you more, I have had my Wii for a while now, and I love it it adds a different edge to my Physio.