Representative Steve Scalise Relearns to Walk with Help from ZeroG

Source:  CBS News

Months after being ambushed by a gunman, Representative Steve Scalise tells 60 Minutes how close he came to dying – and how a series of “little miracles” saved him.

The Republican lawmakers had been practicing in Virginia for a charity baseball game, when a bullet tore through his hip and across his body.  He nearly died that day and has since fought through serious infections and begun the difficult process of relearning to walk.

Scalise ZeroG Overground

Part of his therapy included using Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC.

Click here to view the 60 Minutes piece

Aretech Unveils New ZeroG Gait and Balance System

Aretech, LLC, an advanced rehabilitation technology leader, announced the release of Version 3 of the ZeroG Gait and Balance System at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting (APTA-CSM) in San Antonio, TX. The new ZeroG is the most sophisticated robotic body-weight support system in the world. The system has been redesigned with more features, more versatility, and even higher performance. With the WaveLink WiFi Guardian, ZeroG becomes the first and only completely wireless system in its class not dependent solely on Wi-Fi connectivity.

“The new ZeroG truly encompasses over a decade of experience working hand in hand with physical therapists around the world to deliver the most advanced rehabilitation technology for treating gait and balance disorders,” said Joe Hidler, CEO of Aretech and inventor of the ZeroG Gait and Balance System. “Our commitment to patient safety is reflected in numerous new safety features, including the WaveLink communication protocol. This provides therapists an alternate method of controlling ZeroG independent of a Wi-Fi signal.” Dr. Hidler also believes the new features of ZeroG will help deliver a premium rehabilitation experience. “One of the new features we are most excited about is the new dynamic fall recovery with ActiveAssist, which intelligently adapts the dynamic body-weight support after a fall to aid those patients who may need assistance regaining control.”

At APTA-CSM, therapists had the opportunity to try the new ZeroG. “Therapists really appreciated our new fall cushioning technology. This softens the impact for the patient when ZeroG catches a fall, making for a much more comfortable experience,” said Don Gronachan, Aretech’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Aretech Social ZeroG Release

ZeroG Version 3 Release at APTA-CSM 2017

The Most Sophisticated ZeroG Ever

Originally launched in 2008, ZeroG gives therapists the opportunity to safely treat a broad range of patient populations with dynamic body-weight support in functional activities such as overground walking, sit-to-stand, getting off the floor and stairs. Building upon innovations pioneered by Aretech, ZeroG Version 3 represents the biggest redesign in years. The system now has the capacity to support up to a 450-pound patient. Because ZeroG may be used to raise a patient to standing, one therapist can train heavy patients without the risk of falling.

The dynamic body-weight support of ZeroG is the fastest and most precise available, accurately tracking vertical movements at over 26 inches per second, which is twice as fast as similar systems on the market. This provides patients a stable environment with constant body-weight support even when getting to standing from a chair or the floor. Using ZeroG Kinetics, therapists can choose from various balance training programs using real-time biofeedback to treat their patients in anticipatory balance activities. And for those who have two ZeroG robotic trolleys on the same track, ZeroG has the new Stealth Detection feature, which acts as invisible bumpers to propel the second robot out of the way when not in use for a truly infinite track.

“Aretech is proud to continue to advance the field of rehabilitation forward with innovative, first-to-market features which have never been seen before,” said Hidler. “We’ve been able to take our experience and create the most sophisticated rehabilitation system on the market that gives therapists and patients the best opportunity to improve outcomes.”

About Aretech
Aretech (http://www.aretechllc.com), headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, is a world leader in developing advanced rehabilitation technologies for improving function and independence. The company has a strong commitment to quality, innovation, and developing technology based on evidence-based research.

How ZeroG is Used with Marianjoy Patients

Source Video: Marianjoy

Vanessa Flaherty, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, IL, shows how ZeroG helps them safely perform gait retraining with their patients.

 

ZeroG can help those who are recovering from neuromuscular disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and incomplete spinal cord injury or other orthopedic conditions. ZeroG enables Marianjoy therapists to provide the patients with task-specific practice. This means, that the patient is able to practice the entire task of walking as a whole without breaking up the movement into individual components.

 

ZeroG differs from conventional harness systems. Traditional systems catch the patient immediately once the loss of balance is detected in order to prevent a fall. ZeroG, however, allows the therapist to set the amount of distance before the catch mechanism is employed. Not only does this help the patient to relearn how to control and recover from a stumble or fall, it also retrains the brain on the proper way to react and correct for a loss of balance. Because ZeroG provides the opportunity to make errors in a safe environment, the patient is better able to carry over these skills to real-world situations.

 

zerog-woodway

 

Another benefit of using ZeroG, is that it allows for increased repetition and practice of the task of walking. ZeroG is also integrated with a Woodway split-belt treadmill. The treadmill allows the therapist to vary the speed of the patients gait as well as isolate working on one leg or the other to help improve the affected leg’s swing time and challenge it’s stability.

Because the system can be set to support any amount of the client’s body-weight, most clients are able to walk for a longer time period and often at a faster pace without fatiguing as quickly.

 

Recent neuroplasticity studies have shown repetition and task-specific practice like this is essential for the recovery of functional mobility as well as the cortical recovery in the brain itself. The ZeroG system can also be used while performing balance training, floor transfers and while teaching patients how to overcome other barriers such as stairs, curves and other obstacles they may encounter at home and within their community.

 

zerog-floor

For more information on using ZeroG at Marianjoy, please call 800-462-2366 or visit: www.marianjoy.org

 

To see entire video, click here to view on YouTube: ZeroG Marianjoy Video

12 Year Old with Cerebral Palsy is Fearless in ZeroG

Source: Sweet Charity/Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network

Anna Faura is positively giddy with excitement. It’s a Thursday afternoon at  the Dornsife Pediatric Therapy Suite on Good Shepherd’s south Allentown campus and for the pretty and energetic 12 year old, that means one-on-one time with the ZeroG, a gait and balance system that brings life-changing technology to children like Anna.

For Anna, who has cerebral palsy, this is one of the best days of the week because for the first time in her life, Anna is walking as she’s never done before, experiencing mobility without relying on her walker. Suddenly, the world seems to hold greater possibilities for a girl on the verge of becoming a teen-ager, who is yearning for more independence and literally is making strides to achieve that goal.

“She has some girl-power attitude and that’s what you want her to have, independence and a high functioning level despite her disabilities,” says Anna’s mother, Melissa, marveling at her daughter’s enthusiasm and progress. “I consider the ZeroG state of the art and so innovative. She’s just blossomed since doing this.”

anna_ZeroG

That Anna is able to keep her sense of delight is all the more remarkable for a young girl who had to learn to walk not once but twice. Melissa and Anna’s father, Xavier, know that beyond the uncertainties Anna will face as she grows older, two things have been a reassuring constant in their lives, Good Shepherd and a daughter who is their “angel on earth,” bringing them light and love and joy.

Melissa first became acquainted with Good Shepherd in the 1990s when she worked there as a dietitian in the rehabilitation hospital and then again some years later as a clinical nutrition manager.

“Little did I know then that I would need and value their services on a personal level for my daughter,” she says.

Anna was born on October 3, 2003, delivered by Caesarean section. Exposure to the entero-virus during birth led to viral encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.  For the first two and a half weeks of her life, Anna was kept in the neonatal intensive care unit. The tiny infant struggled with fever, uncontrollable seizures and a low heart rate. Unable to breathe on her own, Anna was on a ventilator. It took four days before the diagnosis was confirmed, an excruciating time for Melissa and Xavier who didn’t know if their baby would survive.

“She almost died,” says Melissa. “We had her baptized three days after being born.”

Finally Anna stabilized enough to go home but there were more struggles ahead. It took two months to finally get the seizures under control and as time passed, other problems became apparent: Anna wasn’t reaching the normal developmental milestones. She was non-verbal, she couldn’t sit up on her own when she was 10 months old and she didn’t start to crawl until she reached 18 months.

Melissa also noticed that Anna wasn’t reacting to light and movement. “You could pass by her and she wasn’t tracking,” says Melissa.

A specialist determined when Anna was two months old that she had cortical visual impairment, a disconnect between what she saw and what her brain was able to process. “It was like an uphill climb of Mt. Everest because it was one obstacle after another,” says Melissa.

The cerebral palsy diagnosis came when Anna was a year old. Immediately Melissa and Xavier began exploring therapies that would help their daughter be the best she could possibly be. They had plenty to work with. “She was the most loving and happy child,” says Melissa. “She was able to adjust to anyone who picked her up, she didn’t cry much and she was comforted easily.”

At two, Anna began physical therapy at Good Shepherd’s outpatient pediatrics program through early intervention. A year later, occupational and speech therapies were added. Having worked for Good Shepherd years before and witnessed some powerful recoveries with neurologically impaired patients, Melissa knew that if her daughter was to thrive, Good Shepherd offered the best chance.

“I loved the interdisciplinary approach to improving patient outcomes,” says Melissa. “It was just incredible for me to see how the team worked together.  It was so worth coming to work every day.”

As Anna grew, the need for orthopedic surgery became more apparent. In 2013, Anna’s femurs were fractured and rotated then realigned on her hips with plates and screws to prevent her legs from turning inward.  Anna was admitted to the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem where she had to learn to walk all over again.

When Anna arrived, she could only stand for 15 seconds. After two and a half months, with leg braces and a walker, she walked out.

“What a joy that was,” says Melissa. “I thought she was never going to walk again but she showed us that with her spirit and sense of hard work and determination that she could do it. She’s teaching us every day.”

Melissa credits much of Anna’s recovery with the excellent teamwork between Good Shepherd’s outpatient and inpatient therapists. “Within a very short period of time, they knew exactly what to do with Anna,” says Melissa. “The care was seamless.”

Once again, Anna resumed outpatient therapy. When the RJ Foundation generously provided funding for purchase of the ZeroG, Anna’s physical therapist, Amanda Kleckner, began evaluating Anna as a possible candidate. A harness fastened to an overhead track helps support Anna’s body weight allowing her to walk without holding on to anything and giving her a sense of greater independence.

 

See VIDEO of Anna Walking in ZeroG

 

“She needed to work on hands-free ambulation and I liked the ZeroG for her because it decreases her fear of falling since it catches her,” says Amanda. “Anna now is getting more mobility outside of her walker and her gait pattern is improving because she’s taking longer steps and has less hip rotation.”

Amanda also uses a treadmill in Anna’s sessions with the ZeroG, helping her progress even more. “She can get 1000 steps in a short amount of time by going faster on the treadmill,” says Amanda. “The repetition helps with neuroplasticity, retraining the muscles and nerves.”

Whatever nervousness Anna had during her first session with the ZeroG was gone by the third session. Fear gave way to fearlessness and that has become evident at home where Anna, under the watchful eye of her brother, Juan, and parents, now can walk through the downstairs hallway on her own and delights in climbing up and down the stairs with more confidence than before she began using the ZeroG.

“If I go to hold her waist, she’ll move my hand off her waist as if to say, ‘Mom. I’ve got this,’” says Melissa.

Excursions to the park near their home bring out even more of Anna’s hunger for independence. Melissa and Xavier beam when they watch how much faster Anna moves using her walker as she makes a beeline for the park. Watching their daughter’s confidence bloom exceeds what these devoted parents ever imagined.

“I think our hopes for her in the beginning were not that great,” says Xavier. “But after the surgery and what Good Shepherd has done for her, it’s good.”

Adds Melissa, “Good Shepherd is a blessing to our family. The therapists are highly dedicated to improving our daughter’s functional abilities and it’s providing her with the latest technology to advance her. When she’s doing the ZeroG, she’s just happy and as a parent, that’s all you want for your child.”

ZeroG Helps Man with an Incomplete SCI Walk Again

Source: YourWestValley

On January 11, Rick Schmidt’s golf shoe caught on the accelerator and his car smashed into a tree.  The accident in Trilogy at Vistancia caused an incomplete spinal cord injury that essentially rendered Schmidt, 64, a quadriplegic — plus left him with a broken leg.

Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital in Surprise wasn’t even open yet. But the new hospital and a determined patient would team up with near miraculous results, once Schmidt heard there was a slight chance he could walk again.

“When I found out I didn’t sever my spine, but it was crushed, and I found out there was a minute possibility, I was determined to walk again,” Schmidt said Friday. “I don’t accept failure. I will win. When I make up my mind to do something, it’s done.”

The 40-bed rehab campus at 13050 W. Bell Road began accepting patients January 18.  St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix called Cobalt about Schmidt and at that point, about 10 days after his crash, he could only wiggle his toes. Schmidt was transferred from St. Joseph’s to Cobalt on Jan. 27 as the rehab hospital’s 12th patient.

Schmidt could not move otherwise, could not feed himself and had no control over bodily functions. The Cobalt team began efforts to reacquire these skills as well as moving Schmidt’s limbs for him to avoid spasticity and atrophy.

Therapists worked on strengthening upper extremities through active resistance. They also put him in a lift to simulate sitting up, and a sliding board for mobility in bed.

Cobalt has the Aretech ZeroG Gait and Balance System, which allowed him to walk in simulated gravity-free environment. Noe said the harness allows patient to redevelop a normal walking gait rather than taking first halting steps with a walker.

Once a patient improves, the ZeroG program can add virtual obstacles to test how they can work their way around without falling.

Tina Serbin, a Cobalt physical therapist, shows Rick how to use the ZeroG Gait and Balance System

It was a test of the all-new team at the just opened hospital. Cobalt has state of the art equipment but most of it had not been used with a patient.

Those working with Schmidt had to be in lockstep on his diet, rehab regimen and communication of what he needed help with and what he needed to do himself.

“You still don’t expect it within 10 days,” Sharon Noe, Cobalt CEO said. “We huddled each morning and discussed his case. The therapists get a lot of accolades and they’re well-deserved, but nursing is a critical component. These are not just nurses that hand out meds, they’re rehab nurses and participate in the rehabilitation process as much as the therapist.”

Schmidt credited the entire team at Cobalt for their upbeat attitude, responsiveness and thoughtful planning.

By the end of his time at Cobalt, Schmidt was able to take 589 steps in a day on ZeroG, and about 170 with his walker.

When he left, Noe said Schmidt was at least four to six months ahead of the normal curve. Cobalt worked on wheelchair seating and placement. But instead of a typical rehab for this injury — which is 90 percent wheelchair based — Schmidt’s program was 30 to 40 percent with the wheelchair, Noe said.

Schmidt said his neurologist told him in March that he’ll make a full recovery in between one year and 18 months.

ZeroG Helps Stroke Patient Learn to Walk Again

Source:  Portland Business Journal & KATU2

Gary LaRue, a 74-year-old Yamhill County farmer, had a severe stroke on March 17th that paralyzed his right side and affected his speech.  Less than six weeks later, he was walking — with assistance — thanks to a new device at the Legacy Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon, or RIO, which is located at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland.

Gary LaRue at RIO

Gary LaRue had a stroke in March, but has been able to practice walking with the ZeroG system at Legacy Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon

The institute is the first in the Pacific Northwest to offer the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System, a robotic mechanism that helps brain and spinal cord patients safely practice walking, balancing and getting up. It allows a patient to begin intensive therapy earlier than they otherwise would.

LaRue came to RIO two weeks after his stroke, which had left him wheelchair bound.

“For someone with no balance, they can attempt to walk and eliminate that fear of falling,” said Eric LaRue, Gary’s son and partner in an excavation company.

ZeroG consists of a computerized trolley that runs on a track on the ceiling. The person using it puts on a harness attached to the trolley, which partially supports their weight and moves with them.

VIDEO: See Gary walk in ZeroG

It’s different than previous systems in a couple of ways, said Valerie Fesler, LaRue’s physical therapist.

Gary chose Legacy RIO for his post-stroke recovery in order to use ZeroG

Gary chose Legacy RIO for therapy in order to use ZeroG in his recovery

“We had a system prior to this that would support the patient’s weight but was very cumbersome and would swing and throw them off balance when they were trying to walk,” Fesler said. “It allows us to get folks on their feet sooner because it’s a fall-free environment. It takes some of the fear out of walking, because they know they’re in this safe environment to practice.”

ZeroG can be used for a variety of diagnoses, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, cerebral palsy and other orthopedic and neurological injuries.

LaRue’s wife of 51 years Miriam, and son Eric said they are looking forward to him coming home from rehab this week. They hope he’ll be able to walk unassisted in the next couple of months. LaRue, who also raises Black Angus cattle, was very active before the stroke and was operating heavy machinery the week before. “He’s not your average 74 year old,” Miriam LaRue said.

 

Case Study: Faster Recovery Time with ZeroG

Source: Evergreen Health & Rehab

After two devastating falls, one that broke his back and another that broke his hip, Gerald Mott of Toms Brook, VA was basically unable to walk or perform many other necessary activities of daily living (ADLs). Mott, 74, also suffers from osteoporosis. Still, he was highly motivated to get back on his feet and return home after his injuries.

Faster Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

After orthopedic surgery, Mott was transferred from the hospital to Evergreen Health and Rehab, Winchester, VA, the only local rehab facility with a state-of-the-art rehabilitation device called the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System, developed by Aretech. Mott was the first patient to use Evergreen’s ZeroG after the facility acquired it on July 1, 2015.

Dr. Michael Li, Evergreen’s Medical Director, said that the ZeroG Gait and Balance System is helping to lower overall rehabilitation costs. “With the help of the robotic ZeroG, patients can recover faster and more quickly regain function,” explained Li.

In the case of Mott, it’s estimated that the ZeroG cut his rehabilitation center stay in at least half. He spent just 5 weeks at Evergreen and now continues his physical therapy twice a week at the home he shares with his wife of 52 years. Evergreen’s Rehab Director, Connie Peace, said that Mott would have likely become a long-term care resident, or had a very lengthy stay of 10 weeks or more had he not been able to rehabilitate using the ZeroG.

ZeroG Gait Balance

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System

The ZeroG robotic system allows patients to practice functional activities safely, with biofeedback that provides vital motivation and cues. The technology can compensate for a patient’s poor coordination or weakness while lowering the risk of injury to both the patient and the therapist. Besides helping patients rehab after orthopedic surgery, the ZeroG also has applications for patients who have had a stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, amputation, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.

The ZeroG technology is used in about 77 of the leading rehab hospitals in the United States, according to Michael Ranberger, president and owner of Evergreen. “It’s pretty unusual for ZeroG to be in a post-acute facility like ours, but Evergreen does a lot of return-to-home rehab,” said Ranberger.

More Aggressive Therapy Speeds Progress

Mark Howard, Evergreen’s business development manager, pointed to another aspect of the ZeroG that helps speed up rehabilitation progress. “This device is really conducive to getting people up on their feet faster,” he said. Howard explained that, because patients are out of their walkers and wheelchairs, the therapists can use both hands and be much more aggressive in therapy. The more aggressive the therapy, the faster the progress.

Mott, for one, is extremely grateful for the positive outcome. “It’s going to help so many people,” he said. “I was excited to just be a part of it because I couldn’t move at all.”

“I went from the wheelchair to the walker,” Mott said. “[Now] I can use two canes to get around. I thought I would never walk again. You have to go to rehab. You have to.”

ZeroG Gait & Balance training technology at Mary Free Bed

Source: Mary Free Bed

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital becomes the first hospital in the Midwest to acquire a ZeroG Version 2. This new technology aids patients in gait and balance activities while they still have the safety of being protected by falls. Patient Todd VanZantwick used ZeroG to jog half a dozen paces down the hallway three weeks after he began his physical therapy. VanZantwick was among the first patients to benefit from ZeroG, Mary Free Bed’s new and sophisticated gait and balance training system. It gave VanZantwick the confidence to push himself harder because he knew he wouldn’t fall.

“There’s no way we could have attempted that without this equipment,” Mary Free Bed physical therapy Kristy Simpson said of VanZantwick’s brief run. “Now, we can be more aggressive, because the risk of fall is almost eliminated. And the more aggressive we can be, the more function the patient will recover.

ZeroG is a machine that runs along 85 feet of ceiling-mounted track on the fourth floor of Mary Free Bed’s new hospital in Grand Rapids.

Mary Free Bed Hall walk

ZeroG provides “dynamic” support. Once a patient is trapped into the harness, a therapist can program the machine to provide a certain amount of constant physical support and to “catch” the patient if he or she ventures out of the designated parameters. ZeroG gave VanZantwick the support and leeway to jump and move from side to side, but once he strayed too far or moved too quickly, signaling the machine he might be falling, the ZeroG Harness strap would lock to prevent him from taking a tumble.

 

Patient Terry Carter is rehabilitating from a spinal cord injury and broken hip. ZeroG provided support as he attempted to step up onto a stool. He also worked on standing from a seated position – without fear he would tumble forward onto the floor. Carter even enjoyed a game of Tetris on ZeroG’s touchscreen by working to control and stack the blocks by jumping or moving his body from left to right.

Mary Free Bed ZeroG Games

 

“If we have to concentrate on keeping a patient from falling, it’s difficult to also focus on the muscles they’re using and how to best help them improve their walking skills”, Simpson said.

Quadriplegic man dances with his wife in the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System

Source: NBC News

When Lauren Jackson married her quadriplegic husband in 2013, she told him, “When you can walk, I want you to dance with me.”

It was more a dream than anything. Joel Jackson had not been expected to survive the 2009 car wreck that separated his spine from his head, let alone get out of a wheelchair.

But that wish came true.

A couple weeks ago, Lauren and Joel, both 26, shared an impromptu moment swaying to their wedding song, Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” at a rehabilitation hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.

Joel, suspended from the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, looked into his wife’s eyes — the only way he can communicate with her.

 

VIDEO of the Jackson’s Dance in ZeroG

 

She looked up at him. “My goodness, you’re so tall,” she said.

Lauren kissed Joel. Their eyes met. They danced.

Everyone else in the Brooks Rehabilitation therapy room stopped what they were doing to watch the young couple, who have known each other since childhood but reconnected after his accident. Several wept.

“Euphoric,” recalled Joel, who spoke to NBC News with the help of a computer.

Before wrapping her arms around her husband, Lauren handed her phone to an intern at the rehab center, who recorded them. She posted the video on her blog, where she documents their journey.

“The little things mean so much to us,” Lauren said.

Lauren and Joel have known each other since they were 14. They met during a church event in Anderson County, South Carolina. There was an immediate spark, and they became close. But they gradually drifted apart.In December 2009, Joel and five other young people got into a car with a drunk driver, who hit a telephone pole. A 15-year-old girl died, and Joel, 20 then, was thrown from the car. The impact shattered his spine where it connects to his skull — an “internal decapitation” that few people survive.

“People don’t live through C1 injuries,” said Bob McIver, manager of Brooks Rehabilitation’s Neuro Recovery Center, referring to the vertebrae closest to the head. “Kids sometimes do. At his age, it’s fatal in matter of seconds.”

At the time, Lauren had not seen Joel since high school graduation. She went to visit him. His jaw had been broken in the wreck and hadn’t been repaired, so he could not speak — a condition that never improved.

In late 2012, they began dating — movies, mostly. He proposed a few months later through a video that friends helped produce. They were married in September 2013, Joel mouthing “I do.” At the reception, Joel’s father lifted Lauren onto Joel’s lap as “I’ll Be” played.

Jacksons wedding day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“But I told him, ‘When you can talk, I want to renew our vows. And when you can walk, I want you to dance with me,'” Lauren said.

She put her career on hold to care for him. They developed an intricate but efficient method of communicating, in which Lauren moves through the alphabet and Joel signals with his eyes the letters he wants to use. Joel also took up painting by holding the brushes in his mouth; he sells his work online.

Lauren tried to find Joel rehabilitative services. His spinal injury was “incomplete,” meaning that he could feel things and had a bit of movement. But no one they saw had worked with a patient with a C1 injury. They were turned down everywhere they went.

“He believed there was nothing else that could be done for him,” Lauren said.

Frustrated, they moved to Florida with Joel’s father, who works for Lowe’s and put him on his insurance plan. Joel also receives coverage under Medicaid and Medicare.

Lauren began the search all over again. A neurologist referred them to Brooks Rehabilitation. It took months for Joel to trust the physical therapists, who wanted to put him on a regimen to strengthen his body and circulatory system. They also wanted to figure out why Joel still could not speak.

“As someone who’d never had any physical therapy, we don’t have any idea of what his potential is, what he is hiding,” McIver said.

On Oct. 1, Joel’s therapists asked if they could put him in the device called ZeroG that allows patients to stand upright while allowing their legs to support a small amount of their body weight. Joel, using his eyes, signaled that he agreed. Lauren, who typically records all of Joel’s rehab regimens, looked away to read a text message. When she turned back, Joel was up.

She thought of her wish. “Hey, Joel, do you want to dance?” she said.

McIver found a recording of “I’ll Be” and piped it into the gym’s speakers. Joel met her gaze to tell her he was ready. They moved together, Lauren holding him and smiling, Joel looking at her intently.

“Everyone applauded at the end,” McIver said. “There were lots of tear-filled eyes.”

After being told for years not to expect a life beyond a wheelchair, there was hope.

Joel has continued to regain strength and body movement, McIver said.

“That little step that got him something he wanted, and he looks at what’s the next thing he can do,” he said.

Joel’s gains have motivated the couple to try to buy a home and develop an event planning business. They’ve appealed to supporters to donate to their “home fund,” offering Joel’s paintings as gifts.

“For two years we’ve lived without an income, so we have to get creative,” Lauren said.

She credits Joel for inspiring her. He tells her, “Anything is possible through love.”

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network has immediate success with ZeroG

Source: Advance PT

Sue Golden, PT, NCS Director of Neurorehabilitation Technologies at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown, PA is interviewed by Advance magazine on the immediate impact ZeroG made to their therapy program.

“We see patients here with stroke, spinal cord injury, head injury, vestibular issues, concussion, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s, movement disorders, really anything neurologic, as well as amputations,” said Golden. The facility implemented the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System in December and saw immediate positive results.

“All of the programs that we develop here are based on neuroplasticity,” Golden explained. “We feel if you attack function from all angles, you give a person the best chance of recovery, no matter what that recovery might be. “You can determine how much weight you’re going to take off patients, as well as specify if you only want them to move in a certain parameter, for example to work on side-stepping or weight-shifting. Or you can open up the entire track and allow people to walk with or without a device. Again, we’re looking at the challenge of balance, proprioception, integrating vision, and the alignment for gait.”

ZeroG can be used for patients with stroke at lower or higher levels of function, added Golden. “You can work the core through lunges, treat patients with amputations, take a patient with incomplete spinal cord injury either with braces or without braces who might be starting a motor-control program. You can pre-gait, emphasizing sit-to-stand, and really focus on helping a patient become weight-bearing through an affected leg.”

ZeroG getting to standing

Golden has utilized the apparatus with a fairly severe stroke patient who tends to push frequently. “We were able to take away his assistive device because he wasn’t likely to fall, and we only allowed the tether to go a certain length so it would catch him if he did,” she said. “So he started taking steps while holding my hand and receiving directions on weight-shifting. He really began to trust his affected leg and walked the most he has since his stroke.”

Golden also recalled the success of the first patient who the therapy staff at Good Shepherd placed in ZeroG. “She’s in her early 20s and a couple years removed from sustaining her head injury. Since the accident, she hadn’t been able to stand on one foot. But within a couple minutes on ZeroG, she did and was just all giggles and smiles, saying ‘I can’t believe I can do this!'”

Treatment sessions at Good Shepherd typically last an hour, with about 45 minutes spent in ZeroG. “If patients need to sit down intermittently, we’ll have them do that in the harness,” Golden related. “And mind you, neither therapist was sweating today while we worked with the stroke patient. That was amazing, because I treated this man once by myself without ZeroG and I was definitely perspiring.”

“I think the equipment has been a wonderful addition,” Golden added. “We’re trying to promote function through every avenue, at every level for every person, while keeping them safe. To really increase their repetitions of being upright and moving. I believe this equipment is a great complement to our treatment, another tool in our toolbox to help people.”

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