Published on 15. May 2015

Walking robot helps patients in early neurological rehabilitation at Vivantes get back to life faster

A walking robot that can be put on can help patients in early neurological rehabilitation and physical therapy at the Clinic for Neurology at Vivantes Humboldt Hospital and Vivantes Spandau Hospital learn to walk again more quickly. The so-called exoskeletons have been in use there for a year. Since then, 30 patients have already been treated.

Although this is not suitable for every patient, many patients are helped by this dynamic gait training device during therapy, explains Prof. Dr. Jörg Wissel, head physician of neurological early rehabilitation at the Humboldt Hospital and Spandau Hospital:"The goal of our rehabilitation is to re-intermediate the patient into working life as best as possible and to make him as fit as possible for everyday life. If you want to learn to walk, you have to take many steps a day – exoskeletons can support you in the truest sense of the word."

Walking training with an exoskeleton is possible, for example, after a spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury or multiple sclerosis if the patient's legs are weakened or paralyzed. The walking robot is donned like an external skeleton, customized to the patient's height and girth. The device generates joint movements of the legs. A flexible foot plate with integrated sensors detects the surface of the floor and thus enables an individual foot roll-off phase.

Not every physiotherapist or occupational therapist can perform this treatment; they must complete a certified training course. Vivantes physiotherapist Bettina Quentin can report from daily practice:"Walking with the walking robot means walking with a backpack full of technology and batteries on your back and a small scaffold around the paralyzed legs and trunk. Many of our patients are very happy to stand on their own legs again, so to speak, and to take their first steps, which would probably not yet be possible without the robot."

The movements are triggered by certain actions of the patient or by external control via the therapist on the computer.

Facility:

Neurological Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy at Vivantes Spandau Hospital and Vivantes Humboldt Hospital offers modern and effective early neurological rehabilitation for people after acutely acquired brain damage such as stroke and other brain injuries and diseases. Therapy is based on a comprehensive bio-psychosocial approach.

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