Rehab centre is European first

A man wearing a VR headset.
A man wearing a VR headset.
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A rehabilitation centre using robotic and virtual reality devices set to be built in Leeds will be the only such service in Europe operating under one roof.

Leeds City Council planners have approved company MOTIONRehab’s proposal to convert a ground floor business unit at Cliffe Park on Bruntcliffe Road in Morley.

Technology due will include state of the art exercise equipment such as treadmills and gaming devices designed to be used by people with disabilities which impair walking, balance and arm function. The service, which is hoped to be open from early April, is to cater to outpatients who have suffered brain or spinal cord injuries and neurological diseases, but people suffering from various conditions could benefit.

Company director and consultant neurological physiotherapist Sarah Daniel said: “It’s rehabilitation in a completely unique way to what’s been seen in the UK and will be the only site of its kind in England.”

The gaming technology used will encourage people to keep aiming for higher scores during sessions. Mrs Daniel said: “It’s dynamic, it’s interesting and it keeps patients motivated.”

Brain or spinal injury outpatients may only expect one or two hours of therapy each week on the NHS due to resources, but MOTIONRehab is to offer around 14 people about four to five hours of high-repetition sessions a day, which evidence suggests gets quicker results.

There is already a waiting list for sessions but there have been preliminary discussions about the possibility of the NHS commissioning it in the future.

MOTIONrehab is due to collaborate with Leeds University to provide opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate research, with the potential for other local institutions to benefit from placements.