Game changer: Exclusive tech set to transform rehabilitation therapy
REVOLUTIONARY equipment to assist people who live with neurological disabilities or have suffered a stroke has been launched exclusively in Australia, with the intention to deliver the life-changing technology in Bundaberg.
Advance Rehab Centre (ARC) is a leading rehabilitation provider in Sydney and plans to incorporate the LEXO, a robotic gait device which assists patients in learning to walk again, into its two signature therapy programs.
The state-of-the-art technology will provide a higher quality of life to more than 60,000 Australians who suffer from a stroke each year, as well as people living with neurological disabilities including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy, among many others.
CEO of Advance Rehab Centre and Australian Physiotherapist of the Year 2019 Melissa McConaghy said the robotic gait trainer increases the chance of patients walking independently at the end of the intervention phase.
“The Lexo works by helping people to improve their walking ability, speed, endurance and ultimately their independence,” Ms McConaghy said.
“It basically deals with three of the biggest problems we have in rebab at the moment – ensuring people get enough stepping practice at a high intensity so that their heart rate goes up enough and minimalising the risk of injury to therapists and the patients.”
Launching today for World Stroke Day, the state-of-art technology will improve the quality of life for patients and family members, support independence and reduce hospital readmissions and the risk of secondary complications like heart disease and Osteoporosis.
According to the Cochrane review, people who receive electromechanical-assisted gait training in combination with physiotherapy after strokes are more likely to achieve independent walking.
“It assists someone to be a community walker – crossing a set of traffic lights at a speed that’s safe and comfortable to them, going out to participate in activities like walking around a shopping centre and maintaining their cardiovascular fitness,” Ms McConaghy said.
“If you think of a heavy stroke patient who requires three people to help him walk, he may only achieve about 500 steps in a session at a very low cardiovascular rate.
“But if we could put this gentleman on the LEXO, it will only require one clinician, he will probably achieve up to 3000 to 4000 steps and 50% of that time will spent at a heart rate where he achieves some fitness training benefits too, so it’s really quite significant what we can achieve.”
In the works for more than a year, Ms McConaghy said ARC saw the first prototype in March and travelled to Austria in September last year, before becoming the first rehabilitation centre in the world to purchase the device.
She said once borders reopen, she anticipates people from all of Australia will try the technology and could be available in regional areas like Bundaberg very soon.
“With COVID-19, we’ve had setback after setback and it’s been about an eight month delay getting it installed so we’re very excited to have it unboxed and ready for patients to use now,” she said.
“It’s going to depend on a lot of things … fundraising because these pieces of equipment are really high cost devices and then also the appetite and will of the health professionals in the local Bundaberg area.
“Once we can break down those barriers and start to use technology for what we do as clinicians, I think there will be an explosion of technology around Australia and in regional areas like Bundaberg as well.”
Supported by Macquarie University, ARC is currently the only rehabilitation centre in the world to purchase the LEXO device.
For more information, visit www.archealth.com.au