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Government of Canada, The Ottawa Hospital and The Ottawa Hospital Foundation unveil Rehabilitation Virtual Reality Laboratory

Caren Ribbon CuttingMarch 25, 2011 – The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, in conjunction with The Ottawa Hospital and The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, today helped unveil the Rehabilitation Virtual Reality Laboratory, housing the CAREN system, at The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre.

“The CAREN system at The Ottawa Hospital is the first of its kind in Canada available for the rehabilitation of both military and civilian patients,” said Minister MacKay. “The acquisition of this state-of-the-art system demonstrates our government’s continued commitment of providing the best possible health care and assistance to our men and women in uniform.”

This initiative is another example of CF’s excellent partnership with The Ottawa Hospital that ensures ill and injured CF personnel receive excellent care when they need it the most.

“Today’s CAREN System launch represents an exciting new chapter in our partnership with the Canadian Forces,” said Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital. “By working together, we’ve ensured that patients from all parts of our community, as well as the Canadian Forces, can benefit from the world-class rehabilitation care they deserve.”

The installation of this system was made possible through the funding efforts of the community, which raised $500,000 for the laboratory at the General Campus of The Ottawa Hospital, and the CF, which contributed $1.5 million to the CAREN system.  The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is proud to play a role in making this state-of-the-art tool a reality at the Hospital, said Foundation President and CEO Susan Doyle.

“The CAREN system is one of the reasons why The Ottawa Hospital has a reputation for providing world-class care, and it’s only through the support of our generous donors that this is possible,” said Mrs. Doyle. “When we reached out to the community to help us raise the $500,000, our donors and supporters responded, showing that they care about making a difference in the lives of patients undergoing therapy at the rehab centre.”

The CAREN will facilitate exposure-based therapy for soldiers requiring physical and mental rehabilitation. The system will allow participants to become part of his or her simulated environment and to interact and modify this environment.

“The CAREN is a safe, controlled, therapeutic learning environment for CF members to challenge their abilities in physical and mental rehabilitation,” said Rear Admiral Andy Smith, Chief Military Personnel. “The CAREN allows therapists and researchers to look at more accurate measures and make very technical analyses that will lead to further improving evidence-based care.”

The Government of Canada continues to listen to the concerns of ill and injured CF personnel, veterans and their families. 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.