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An Introduction To Advanced Technology In Rehabilitation






 

An Introduction To Advanced Technology In Rehabilitation

Robin R Varghese, PT

Valley Healing Hands LLC







 

 ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY IN REHABILITATION

 

The healthcare sector is rapidly expanding about future demands for more advanced rehabilitation technologies in treatment procedures. Significant encounters and prospects will come up in the health sector in the coming years. However, advanced medical technology is already accessible in the health sector in most industrialized countries, and more advances are being discovered with time. Some of the advanced medical equipment such as robotic gait trainers, robotic hand exercisers, and advanced power mobility devices can be used to enhance and hasten patient recovery. These and much more will be discussed in the paper.

 

To begin with, robotic gait trainer is an advanced equipment used in strengthening and training of legs so as they learn to walk again. It functions by stimulating the central nervous system, and the repeated series of stepping movements can trigger the sensory memory. Apart from training the legs to walk again, this device has additional advantages such as enhancing muscle activity and improving circulation throughout the whole body (Smith, 2018). During the training, the patient will be suspended in a specialized harness above the treadmill hence putting less weight on the legs. The patient’s body will also be well supported therefore allowing them to be more comfortable and focused on movement. This rehabilitation technique can effectively be used on patients with partial spinal cord injuries.

 

Robotic hand exoskeleton based exerciser is yet another advanced medical equipment that is used specifically in rehabilitating people who have suffered from stroke. The hands are a part of the essential part of the human body for an independent life. Hand disability is as a result of stroke hence leading to inability to grasp or hold anything. This particular equipment helps the patients suffering from neurological disabilities to partially or wholly regain their motor performance. This is achieved by applying pressure on the affected finger phalanx hence avoiding inappropriate motion patterns. In each finger phalanx, a sophisticated attachment allows the finger to follow a natural course (Shin, Kim, and Park, 2014). However, for the rehabilitation to be successful, it will require a team of specialists for guidance such as therapists and medical attendants. The primary goal of stroke rehab is to boost muscle control and minimize pain as a result of muscle contraction. In addition to that, virtual reality can also be used to help children with autism to improve their social skills (Carson, 2015). It incorporates brain imaging and puts children in situations such as job interviews or even dates. This helps them in expressing socially accepted behavior.

 

People with different disabilities such as mobility, circulatory, respiratory, or even neurological make use of various devices for movement. Some of the devices used are such as crutches, braces, and walkers with some of them being manual and others power driven such as wheelchairs and electric scooters (Cerebral palsy group, 2016). Advances in technology have however given rise to advanced devices such as Segway’s which is used by some people with disabilities use for mobility. Additional rehab devices include eyeglasses and hearing aids and such require a specialist’s evaluation. Other than that home mechanization is a form of assistive technology and often used for the elderly. This technology helps the elderly and the disabled to be able to live independently. This option is possible for the elderly and disabled who wish to stay in their own homes rather than going to a hospital. Other than that, a stair lift is another form of assistive technology used for people with disability. It is also easier to install as compared to an elevator. This device allows a patient to move up and down the stairs while seated.  A lift chair is also a special home lifting aid. It is more comfortable and safer to get into and out of the chair.

 

All the mentioned medical equipment requires specialized personnel regarding handling the devices and even the patients undergoing rehabilitation. In any given physical rehabilitation setting, the therapist should strive to accomplish functional gains through improving or adopting motor and processing skills of the patient. The advanced technologies present an innovative approach in treating motor and processing skills. Facilitation of patient involvement and excitement is a crucial factor in making rehabilitation a success depending on the level of the patient’s impairment.     

 

In conclusion, as far as advanced medical technology is concerned, it should be noted that some of the approaches are fully effective while others are partially effective.  Therefore further research should be done to enhance the medical devices and treatment methods. Medical specialists should also make it their role to convey information to the patients concerning the devices and how they function. However, some patients end up with disabilities even after rehabilitation and treatment. They should be allowed to choose whatever mobility device is suitable for them. The specialists and medics attending to patients should also be thoroughly trained, and they should also be gentle with the patients as some of these devices cause stress to the patents using them.

 

References

Carson E. (2015). Ten ways virtual reality is revolutionizing medicine and healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-ways-virtual-reality-is-revolutionizing-medicine-and-healthcare/

Cerebral palsy group. (2016).Cerebral Palsy and Mobility Aids. Retrieved from https://cerebralpalsygroup.com/treatment/mobility-aids/

Iqbal J. and Baizid K.  (2015). Stroke Rehabilitation using Exoskeleton-Based Robotic Exercisers. Retrieved from http://www.alliedacademies.org/articles/stroke-rehabilitation-using-exoskeletonbased-robotic-exercisersmini-review.html#a1

Shin, J.C., Kim J.Y., Park H.K. and Kim N.Y (2014). Effect Of Robotic-Assisted Gait Training In Patients With Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4280366/

Smith, R. O. (2018). Advanced Rehabilitation Technologies and Robotics. Retrieved from https://www.burttherapy.com/burt-blog/2018/rehabilitation-technologies-and-robotics

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