I’m filling in for Ian Franks this week on news item picks for Multiple Sclerosis News Today while Ian is in Moscow taking the first step in his HSCT (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) quest. We wish him well.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) recently installed a state-of-the-art SafeGait 360 Balance and Mobility Trainer on its Austin, Texas campus. The device is a ceiling-mounted body-weight support and fall protection system that tracks patient movements 2,500 times per second.
The trainer was designed in collaboration with physical therapy and occupational therapy experts to mitigate risk of injury from falls. It’s used to treat people who have multiple sclerosis or spina bifida, or with neurological problems such as a stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, as well as geriatric patients who are at risk of injury from falls.
Additionally, the SafeGait 360’s Dynamic Fall Protection (DFP) feature is programmed to distinguish between a patient’s intentional downward movement and when the patient is actually falling, allowing therapists to easily fine-tune the system’s fall protection sensitivity to accommodate and challenge individual patients at varying stages of independence.
Physical therapists are regularly at risk of strains or injuries associated with patient handling and movement during therapy, with risk of injury from falls during therapy threatening the safety of both patients and therapists, and associated costs creating a substantial burden on the facility. The use of SafeGait in risk reduction protocols protects therapists and patients without compromising the therapy. Gait 360 will be used for research and to provide treatment for orthopedic and geriatric patients, who are also at risk of injury from falls.
It seems as if MS patients might benefit from this, as well as others with severe mobility problems.