Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Robot-assisted therapy gives a wheelchair user the ability to experience walking again


Caregiver Katherine wanted her mother to stay active, even in her advanced age of 80. So she enrolled her mother in Allium Care Studio’s three-hour programme on physical activity, cognitive stimulation and personal interest activities.

During these sessions, Katherine’s mother uses a specialised equipment called the THERA-Trainer tigo, a multi-functional leg or upper-body exerciser, for endurance and mobility training, among other activities.

Not only is Katherine glad her mother is able to stay active and engaged, she appreciates the attention the centre staff lavishes on her mother. “The team is always treating my mother with careful attention to her needs and are very patient with her. They have established a good rapport with my mother, which has made her feel at ease and willing to come and participate in the activities.”

THERA-Trainer tigo is a multi-functional leg or upper-body exerciser, for endurance and mobility training. 

Allium, based in Joo Chiat Place, is the first reference centre for the THERA-Trainer equipment, which is manufactured in Germany. This specialised equipment is used to tailor specific programmes for each person's conditions.

Ultimately, it aims to improve a frail older person's agility, strength, physiological capacity and energy to carry out his daily tasks, while making day-to-day training fun.

Under Allium Care Studio’s tailored Allium PETALS (Personalised Effective Therapies for Agility and Lifelong Strength) Programme, clients who were too frail to walk were able to improve their mobility with the use of a robot-assisted gait trainer called the THERA-Trainer lyra.

Mr Goh (who declined to give his real name) had to use a wheelchair for two years after heart surgery made him too weak to walk. To fulfil his wish of being able to walk along the beach with his wife again, he signed on with Allium PETALS Programme.

Allium’s care professionals ran health assessments to better understand Mr Goh condition, then helped him onto the lyra, a gait trainer. The lyra uses patented technology to reproduce the human gait patterns accurately, stimulating the client’s neuroplasticity processes. It’s suitable for people who had stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury or frailty.

Strapped to the lyra, Mr Goh took his first step since the surgery. The first day, he walked 70 steps. Two days later, he returned and managed 700 steps. With hard work and more sessions, Mr Goh’s dream of returning to the beach is no longer as far-fetched as it seemed two years ago.

With adjustable training settings (body weight support, step length and speed), the THERA-Trainer lyra is suitable for severely-affected stroke patients. 
THERA-Trainer balo is used to train balance and mobility, and can be used by those who are at risk of falling or who lack core stability.

Allium’s other eldercare services include:

SEED (Stimulate and Enrich to Ease Dementia) Programme for persons with dementia - a three-hour-long programme comprising physical exercise, cognitive stimulation and personalised fun activities

FIT-TY (FIT after fifTY) Programme for people above 50 - a 45-minute exercise class that is even suitable for those who do not exercise regularly, to keep active physically, mentally and socially

Allium Home Care - personalised home care services for those who prefer treatment at home

Allium CEO Mr. Bernie Poh says: “Allium Healthcare provides trusted care that is responsive to the diverse needs and preferences of older persons in the many communities within which we operate. By introducing a concept of care that marries Healthcare and Hospitality, we hope to provide quality personalised aged care services to co-create meaningful experiences for older persons and their loved ones.”

Besides Allium Care Studio, Allium Healthcare is looking to introduce a continuum of care by offering home care services, as well as a nursing home located in Venus Drive, which will start operations in mid-2019.

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