LAFAYETTE, Indiana - Franciscan Health Lafayette Inpatient Rehab offers the lastest innovation in gait training with Ekso GT robotic exoskeleton. The Ekso is used for stroke and spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. This new technology that has helped our patients, with hemiparesis due to stroke and individuals with spinal cord injuries, stand up and walk over ground.
The Ekso is a customizable bionic suit with intuitive technology that can gauge how much power the patient is able to contribute and adapts to continuously deliver the appropriate level of support to complete steps. The Ekso teaches patients correct weights shifts and step patterns so that they can achieve a more natural gait pattern to help with efficiency of movement. Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants oversee and assist patients with using the Ekso. Therapists are able to use the Ekso's computer technology to adapt treatment plans specific for patients.
Criteria for being evaluated to use the Ekso is as followed but not limited to:
- Weigh less than 220 lbs
- Height is 5'0 – 6'4"
- Have no severe medical complications (infection, circulatory/lung complications, orthostatic hypotension)
- No skin breakdown
- No unstable spine or unhealed fractures
- No colostomy
- No knee/hip contractures greater than 12 degrees
The Ekso has many other capabilities, along with gait training to assist patients that have a difficult time with mobility. New upgrades have now allowed patients that are in the Ekso to perform squats at a varying degrees, work on backwards walking for strengthening, dynamic standing activities for balance training, and provide resistance to ambulation to work on strengthening.
When recovering from a stroke, research has shown that early mobilization is key for recovery. The Ekso allows for physical therapists to assist patients with standing and ambulation quicker, due to the power and technology it provides. The Ekso uses the principles of neuroplasticity to help rewire and reorganize the brain to help survivors regain as much of their independence as possible by helping them relearn skills that may have been lost during or as a consequence of stroke or SCI.
In what can take two to three therapists to stand a patient, the Ekso has assisted patients stand and begin the process of ambulation with more ease. We have seen the benefits of this technology and are looking forward to helping others as well.
The inpatient rehabilitation unit is a wonderful and generous part of Franciscan Health Lafayette. We are looking forward to our move in April to Franciscan Health Lafayette East campus. Stay tuned for more updates about our move and new unit features!
Click the link below to read more of this Inpatient Rehab 8-part series:
- Interactive Metronome