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Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital
Story Number is : 031509119
Hospital Newspaper

Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital is leading the way in helping patients to improve function and return to their daily lives. As a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient services, Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital is renowned for their comprehensive neurorehabilitation programs.

Using today’s advancements in rehabilitation technology, Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital is offering new hope to patients. After suffering a neurological injury, typical daily activities like holding a glass, folding laundry, and even walking, can become the greatest challenges to overcome. Studies now show that through repetition and practice, recovery of movement and function is possible even more than twenty years after a neurological injury such as Stroke, Brain Injury or Spinal Cord Injury. While impairments often make it difficult to complete therapy exercises, new rehabilitation technology such as Body Weight-Supported Treadmill Training, Functional Electrical Stimulation and Rehabilitation Robots incorporated into the treatment plan is helping appropriate patients regain independence.

Learning to walk again is something patients can achieve with the AutoAmbulator. The AutoAmbulator utilizes body weight-supported treadmill training, where robots guide the patient’s legs on the treadmill to reproduce normal walking patterns. The AutoAmbulator un-weights the patients legs and allows the patient to participate in gait training activities in a safe environment earlier than in a traditional rehabilitation program. The body weight-support provided by the device allows for longer, safer and more efficient therapy sessions.

Bioness utilizes electrical stimulation to re-train neurological pathways. While there is nothing new about the use of electrical stimulation for this purpose, two Bioness devices, the Ness H200 and Ness L300, allow patients to use this type of rehabilitation more easily and effectively than ever before. The Ness H200 utilizes functional electrical stimulation to help patients improve upper limb function and reduce spasticity. Fitting over a patient’s hand and forearm, the Ness H200 is a soft-plastic neuroprosthesis with five surface electrodes. The therapist programs the device to deliver mild, synchronized electrical stimulation to nerves in the arm. The stimulated nerves activate the muscles, while the patient practices functional, goal-driven tasks. “What’s great about the H200 is that it gets the patient involved and excited about their therapy, right from the start,” explains Dan Parkinson, P.T., M.B.A., Director of Clinical Services, Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. “It’s not very exciting at all for the patient to have their arm lifted and manipulated by a therapist over and over again. But, when a patient puts on the H200, and then sees their hand, that they couldn’t move, actually start to open and close…, then that patient becomes interested and engaged in the therapy.”

The Ness L300 assists patients with foot drop caused by a neurologic injury such as Stroke or Multiple Sclerosis. Foot drop, a weakness of muscles involved in flexing the ankle and toes, causes toes to droop downwards. To avoid catching their toes and tripping, patients with foot drop often circumduct or swing out their leg as they walk.
While this may prevent them from tripping, it causes gait deviation, increases their energy expenditure and can cause pain in otherwise unaffected body parts such as hips or lower back. Less rigid and more comfortable than a brace, the Ness L300 allows for a more natural walking pattern for patients. The unique design of these Bioness devices allows for consistent, reliable placement of the electrode, and the therapist is able to easily control the intensity of the stimulation in order to maximize comfort and effectiveness.

Another in the latest of rehabilitation technology is the Myomo e100 NeuroRobotic System. The Myomo e100 is designed to help individuals relearn how to move partially paralyzed arms after a neurological injury. Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital was the first facility in the country to offer customized treatment programs using this lightweight, portable robot. It is worn on the patient’s arm with a sensor that sits on the skin’s surface to detect a person’s muscle signal as he or she attempts movement. When nerves fire, the signal is sent to the robot to assist the patient in achieving movement of the affected arm. The Myomo e100 does not require surgery, oral medicine or electrical stimulation, instead it employs advanced neurorobotic technology to allow an individual to self-initiate and control movement of affected limbs using their own biological signals.

What is InMotion Robots? Invented by leading scientists at MIT, InMotion Robots use purposeful and engaging computer games to guide a patient through clinician-selected exercise, starting with gentle assisted movement and becoming progressively more challenging. The robots assist patients to significantly increase their exercise repetitions, more so than traditional therapy, resulting in improved performance and recovery. Persons with arm weakness and decreased function, specifically in the shoulder, elbow and/or wrist and hand, have proven to be excellent candidates to use the InMotion Robots.

More than a decade of research at MIT and leading hospitals worldwide have demonstrated that robot-assisted therapy can help improve strength, coordination and functional movement in the upper limb after a neurologic impairment. These long-lasting benefits are observed both in patients whose injuries occurred recently and in those whose injury occurred many years ago.

“We have many resources to benefit patients,” says T. Joy DePiero, M.D., Medical Director of the Stroke Program, Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. “It’s the combined efforts of the team working together and creating an individualized therapy program for each patient, coupled with the advanced technology that leads to better patient outcomes and distinguishes our hospital.”

Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital is the only facility in the United States to offer so many rehab technology intervention devices to facilitate neurorecovery. “As therapists, we’re always struggling to find different modalities and different techniques we can use with our patients,” Dan Parkinson explains. “Advanced technology helps address two more difficult stages of recovery, (1) the acute stage, when there is often no movement at all in the arm, and (2) the chronic stage, when the progress appears to have reached a plateau.”

While it was once thought that the process of recovery occurred only in the first six months to one year following a stroke, brain injury or other neurologic injury, mounting evidence has shown that this is simply not true. The reality is that it is never too late to introduce therapy and results are possible even years after a neurologic event.

“Neuroplasticity is the central nervous system’s ability to remodel itself, “explains Doug I. Katz, M.D., Medical Director of the Brain Injury Program, Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. “It’s an important component in rehabilitation, as well as, an element of recovery after stroke or brain injury. With therapy and practice, patients can actually change the physiological organization of the brain and enhance recovery of motor skills.” This plasticity means the brain can essentially be retrained.

While Dr. Katz credits the technology, he stresses the importance of the therapy team and supportive specialties. This synthesis of strengths translates into results for patients. He explains that “It’s a combination of innovative technology with other rehabilitation strategies that helps these patients make significant gains. “It’s advanced innovative technology with a team-oriented approach to clinical rehabilitation.”

For over thirty years Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital has been, and continues to be, a leading provider in rehabilitation services. Using the latest and most advanced technology we help our patients increase their independence and productivity, and get back to living life!

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