Virtual Reality, Real Results: The Power of CAREN for Recovery


Meeting the needs of soldiers wounded in the line of duty is always a priority. After all, these wounded warriors have put their lives on the line for their country, and they deserve the best chance possible for comprehensive recovery. While there are many new technologies that can serve this select group of individuals, one of the most exciting advancements is the computer-assisted research environment.

Understanding CAREN

The concept of a computer-assisted research environment is most commonly referred to as CAREN. Computers have been used in many medical contexts, but in this treatment plan, the computer is used to create a virtual reality.
The advanced technology relies on motion capture to better document the moves of the participant, and the surrounding area is equipped to be responsive to the needs of the virtual environment. This means that the ground can shift for inclines and declines, creating a more realistic sensation. The process is further enhanced with visual and sound elements in the enclosure, allowing for a complete immersion into the simulated environment.

The Advantage of CAREN

With other treatment options available, many people may wonder why a virtual reality solution is beneficial. The answer is two-fold. For the patient, the virtual reality environment provides a more stimulating recovery process that can be refined according to each patient’s needs. Moreover, CAREN is a more engaging treatment option.
Since it provides a virtual reality, patients can activate their minds in new ways. Sometimes, this shift in mindset can have a profound impact on the patient’s recovery.

Some of the things that can be practiced in CAREN are listed below.

  • Reactive balance
  • Reaction time
  • Muscle activation
  • Stability
  • More

The benefits are also extended to the rehabilitation team. By tracking the patient’s movements in the environment, it is possible to see how his or her body is responding. This encourages timely data collection, which allows for treatment modifications as needed. In this manner, CAREN can also serve a diagnostic purpose, tracking a stunning array of kinetic and biomechanical information. This wealth of information can be used to make superior treatment decisions for the patient.

Assessing Eligibility for CAREN

CAREN has been widely used to help soldiers who have suffered blast injuries in the field. This can include spinal injury, traumatic brain injury or amputation. All of these medical conditions require rehabilitation to regain normal movement. These are the soldiers who can benefit from CAREN the most.

There are other considerations when assessing a patient’s viability for CAREN. Other factors:

Age: Younger patients are most likely to benefit from the intensive nature of CAREN.
Fitness level: Due to the interactive approach of CAREN, patients should be in good health overall.
Emotional wellness: CAREN stimulates the mind and body, which is why psychological evaluation should be included in the process.

Availability of CAREN

Due to the good outcomes associated with CAREN, many military treatment facilities now have these devices. This means that most soldiers who are wounded have access to this tool for their recovery.

With such promising results in the military, civilian treatment centers have started to work with CAREN as well. This means that someday everyone may have access to this revolutionary recovery process.

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