Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation
Government of Alberta

Government of Alberta
Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services

June 24, 2011 13:16 ET

Government of Canada and Partners Unveil the CAREN Virtual Reality Medical Treatment System at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - June 24, 2011) - The Honourable Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, today announced Western Canada's first Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) virtual reality medical treatment system for the care of both military and civilian patients. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, in conjunction with the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services (AHS).

"The Government of Canada is committed to providing the best evidence-based care to its ill and injured Canadian Forces personnel," said MP Hawn. "The state-of-the-art CAREN system will provide soldiers in Western Canada with an interactive form of therapy that will provide enhanced physical rehabilitation and mental health treatment to patients at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital."

"The CAREN unit represents some of the best technology we can offer our injured soldiers and civilian Albertans to help them heal, particularly amputees and patients suffering from brain injuries," says Greg Weadick, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. "It's also going to provide opportunities for further research and development so we can continue to develop cutting edge medical technology here in Alberta."

The Government of Canada contributed $1.5 million towards the purchase of the system and training and other administrative costs. Through the Courage Campaign, which concluded in 2010, the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation raised over $4.5 million, leading to the opening of the Building Trades of Alberta Courage Centre and the creation of the Courage In Motion (CIM) Centre, which will house the CAREN system.

The Government of Alberta, through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology, provided $250,000 to support businesses developing rehabilitation products and systems using CAREN. Alberta Health Services will provide clinicians, facilities and logistical support to ensure the system is used to its full potential.

"We believe that bringing the first CAREN system to Western Canada truly signifies the Glenrose's status as a world leader in rehabilitation." said Mr. John Chomiak, Chairperson the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. "Most importantly, the potential for the system to propel research, ultimately supporting improved outcomes in our patients' journeys, is simply what they deserve."

"Alberta Health Services is pleased to be able to assist in speeding the up recovery of some patients by having its clinicians use the CAREN technology as a form of therapy," said Gord Winkel, AHS board member. "The CAREN system represents the state of the art in virtual reality therapy. Injured soldiers and civilians alike will benefit from this device through quicker healing."

The Canadian Forces (CF) Health Services have a long standing partnership with the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in ensuring that ill and injured CF personnel receive the best care possible from both the military and civilian health care community. The hospital provides expertise in high-level rehabilitation treatment and the CAREN system will help enhance this care.

The CAREN will create a safe, controlled, therapeutic learning environment for soldiers requiring physical and mental rehabilitation. This system will allow participants to become part of his or her simulated environment and to interact and modify this environment.

"The CAREN will allow CF members to challenge their abilities in physical rehabilitation and to undergo exposure therapy as part of treatment for mental health conditions," said Commodore Hans Jung, Surgeon General. "The CAREN allows therapists and researchers to look at more accurate measures and make very technical analyses that lead to further improving evidence-based care."

This announcement is a continuation of the Government's action to improve the care and support of our troops, veterans and the wider CF family.

The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation helps to build hope, provide opportunity and foster independence for people who have faced challenges due to illness or injury. All funds raised are used to enhance patient care, and support education, research, and technology development.

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

Alberta Health Services is the Government of Alberta's provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Notes to editor / news director:

Netherlands-based MOTEK Medical is the only company in the world that builds the CAREN medical-purpose virtual reality system. The procurement of the system was announced in April 2010: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=00&id=3337

The first CAREN system for military and civilian use was launched at the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Hospital in March 2011: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3754

For more information on the CF's rehabilitation program, please visit:
http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3826.

For video and still imagery of CF patients using the CAREN system at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, please visit: https://www.glenrosefoundation.com/GR_main_press.asp?list_id=16

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