Kaweah Health is reportedly the first in California using a new piece of technology, the SafeGait 360º Balance and Mobility Trainer to help people who are learning to walk again after they’ve been injured. The integrated health system serving Central California has also debuted a 100-foot track for its patients – reportedly the longest track in the nation.

“It is providing hope in motion and allowing us to take our therapy, specifically our stroke rehab as we are a stroke specialty center, to the next level,” said Tara Norman, Kaweah Health Therapy Supervisor.

The SafeGait 360º Balance and Mobility Trainer is a ceiling-mounted dynamic body-weight support (BWS) and fall protection system. It promotes a safe, efficient therapy session to individuals with a variety of impairments as they practice walking, improve strength, and overcome balance concerns.

The purchase, made possible through the Kaweah Health Hospital Foundation’s community fundraising efforts, is in use at Kaweah Health’s Rehabilitation Hospital. There, physical therapists are using the track-and-harness system to increase patient confidence and reduce fears of falling as they learn to stand or walk again after a stroke, a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amputation, and other neurological or neurodegenerative diagnoses. This device tracks patients’ movement, so physical therapists can make quick and safe adjustments, while letting patients learn to negotiate stairs, transfers, and floor exercises.

“This system has consistent tension on the patient which is going to allow them to start to be able to regain balance themselves,” Norman said.

The road to recovery can be long, but data can give patients hope, said Ruth Toews, Therapy Manager. “We have to help them understand those small changes amount to larger changes down the road,” she said.

Physical therapists, too, are benefitting from this equipment, as they are less likely to be hurt catching a fall, which gives them the opportunity to expand their intervention strategies. They no longer have to be on guard for falls, the most likely time for work-related injury to occur. This also means fewer staff are needed to work with one patient, which opens opportunities for other patients. Data provided by the system is also be available to help physical therapists evaluate patient treatment plans.

Kaweah Health is a publicly-owned community healthcare organization that provides comprehensive health services to the greater Visalia region and Tulare County.

[Source(s): Kaweah Health, PR Newswire]