Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence
Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services

April 18, 2010 12:00 ET

Minister of National Defence Announces New Virtual Reality System at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 18, 2010) - The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, today announced a $1.5-million fund for the purchase of a computer-assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN) system at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Alberta Health Services and Canadian Forces Health Services are joined in a partnership to provide advanced rehabilitation services to injured Canadian Forces (CF) personnel and other patients.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to provide Canada's military personnel with access to this new technology," said Minister MacKay. "Our collaboration with the Glenrose Hospital means CF personnel and other patients can benefit from state-of-the-art care."

Alberta Advanced Education and Technology is providing $250,000 from its Innovation Agency Project Grant, for product development and evaluation of the CAREN system. 

"Investing in this technology just makes sense," said the Alberta Advanced Education & Technology Minister and Minister Liaison to the Canadian Forces, the Honourable Doug Horner. "It will provide outstanding rehab care for our troops and all Albertans, and will give the Glenrose incredible opportunities to collaborate with hospitals across Canada and around the world. Everyone wins."

Also in attendance at the announcement were the Parliamentary Secretary to National Defence and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, Laurie Hawn; the Alberta Health & Wellness Minister, the Honourable Gene Zwozdesky; the Canadian Forces Chief of Military Personnel, Major-General Walter Semianiw; and the Canadian Forces Surgeon General, Commodore Hans Jung.

"The CAREN system will enhance rehabilitation treatment for a wide range of patients, including amputees, those with spinal cord injury and those with post traumatic stress disorder," said Isabel Henderson, Vice-President of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. "The technology will engage our patients at a whole new level and boost their progress through the rehabilitation journey."

This is the second installation of the system to be announced by the Government of Canada, following a similar event at The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre in February.

"Today's announcement is yet another example of how we are taking the steps necessary to care for our people," said Maj-Gen Semianiw. "It also demonstrates the value of strengthening partnerships between military and civilian medical communities."

The CAREN system immerses patients in a virtual reality simulator that uses a moving platform and surround screen.

"The innovations we are announcing today will ensure Albertans have access to the best rehabilitation technology available," said Minister Zwozdesky. "We are continually striving to make Alberta's publicly funded health care system the best in Canada."

For more information, please contact Maj André Berdais, Canadian Forces Health Services Public Affairs Officer, at (613) 945-6388 or (613) 796-5412 (cell); or Helen Wu, Alberta Health Services Public Affairs Officer, at (780) 342-8628 or (780) 401-0887 (pager).

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