Rehabilitation Robots

Rehabilitation Robots Help Identify Stroke Disabilities and Improve Care

Rehabilitation robots.  Stroke patients normally require the attentive health care of doctors, nurses, therapists, and adequate equipment to fully recover and regain their wellness back. But with the invention of rehabilitation robots, giving these patients the guarantee of gaining their health back and getting in shape is now very possible. Recently scientists and researchers at the University of Calgary were able to design a robot that could determine and provide post-stroke therapy.

A study presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress held last October 1 confirmed the capacity of the rehab robots in bringing adequate health care to the patients. In fact, upon testing, the robots were able to detect post-stroke impairments, which is the key to determining what is the most ideal and beneficial therapy for a certain condition and to what extent should the therapy be to help hasten the recovery.

The rehab robot was tested with 185 subjects as the respondents under a 15-day assessment period. Eighty seven respondents were identified to be recovering from stroke, while 98 were unaffected by stroke. Test results showed that using the rehabilitation robot improved the patients’ sensation to feel limb position, speed and limb movements.

The project’s lead researcher, Dr. Sean Dukelow was happy about the results, given that improved limb sensation translates into positive progression on the part of the patients. "For years, therapists have known that limb awareness is very important to predicting a person's outcomes after stroke. Yet we have never before been able to quantify it," Dukelow said.

"Awareness and control of our limbs' location allows us to do everyday things like reach for a coffee cup while watching television," he continued.

Furthermore, Dr. Dukelow and team found out that 20 per cent of the stroke patients did not sense the rehab robot moving their [inflicted] arm, while it took longer for 70 per cent of stroke patients to react to the robot's movements. A further78 per cent of stroke patients failed to sense of movement direction; while 69 per cent had deteriorated slowed capacity in matching movements.

With the numerous negative impact of stroke, the need for a more effective therapy has become vital for patient recovery: According to Ian Joiner, a physiotherapist and director at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, "rehabilitation is an important part of recovering from stroke." The launching of the rehab robot has never been timelier, given that it is a “very useful supplement to traditional rehab. The end result -- the one we're all working toward -- is better patient care and improved recovery."

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