The CIM Centre at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital is home to the state-of-the-art Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN). The first of its kind in Western Canada, the system was acquired through a partnership with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and the Alberta Government. It consists of a robotic platform, a treadmill with force plates, a motion capture system and a virtual reality screen with surround sound. Accompanying software allows the operator to create customized rehabilitation scenarios to address the unique rehabilitation needs and abilities of patients, ranging from children to older adults. (CIM service details)

The CAREN is used for the rehabilitation of Glenrose patients as well as Canadian Forces personnel presenting with both physical and psychological injuries. The system can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions including stroke, amputation, traumatic brain injury, multiple orthopedic trauma, spinal cord injury, postural instability, sports injury, burns and psychiatric disorders such as phobias and PTSD. The CAREN software allows users to create and modify the applications to meet individual goals of therapy as determined by the clinical staff. Applications can be scaled to provide the appropriate challenge for all levels of the rehabilitation spectrum.

The most unique aspect of the CAREN is that it creates a safe, controlled, scalable therapeutic environment for patients and soldiers requiring physical and mental rehabilitation. It allows participants to interact with the simulated environment for immediate feedback on performance. Various therapeutic modalities are combined within one system, allowing a clinician to implement a personalized program focusing on the specific needs of each patient. As the patient’s function improves, the system is able to adapt in order to maintain a challenge for the patient. Other key features are its motivating and engaging scenarios, presented in a “game like” environment, and the ability to layer tasks to increase the challenge.

In a typical CAREN application, the patient is able to control the motion on screen while the platform motion is controlled by their shift in weight, by reaching, stepping or walking. In this way, the patient’s balance and mobility can be assessed and trained, with options of adding on other activities, for example, upper extremity reaching and coordination, visual field awareness, distractors and cognitive tasks.