General Questions regarding NeuroGym® Technologies equipment

Is the NeuroGym® equipment only for rehabilitation?

No, the equipment was originally developed for rehabilitation and is used in hospitals, clinics and skilled nursing facilities, but it is also used as part of recreation and fitness programs and in private homes.

Can non-clinical personnel operate the equipment?

Yes, the equipment can be used by non-clinical personnel such as personal support workers, aides and recreation workers. It can also be used by a caregiver at home. NeuroGym Technologies provides training and support for all users of our equipment. In most instances, where medical or orthopedic limitations exist, for example, it is wise to have a registered professional such as a physical therapist, review an individual’s suitability for using a particular mobility training device.

Ankle Trainer

Why is the Ankle Trainer important for Seniors?

Ankle strength is key to good foot control. For example, decreased ability to dorsiflex (bring the toes up) is often a result of decreased strength around the ankle, and can cause a trip and fall.

Why is the Ankle Trainer an excellent tool for rehabilitation?

The unique axel and locking platform mechanism of the NeuroGym® Ankle Trainer allows ankle movement to be isolated from movement of the lower limb. This permits targeted training of specific ankle muscles and movement.

Elder Care

I work in long term care and we don’t have enough time to do everything we would like to do as it is. How could the NeuroGym® equipment make a difference to my workplace?

According to Nursing Home magazine, two of the top 3 problems plaguing the North American long term care industry are employee morale and employee turnover.

A critical part of the job for front line workers is transferring residents. This is a challenge because residents are afraid to try to move themselves, and the physical work required to move them can be daunting and time consuming. Due to their immobility, residents are understandably depressed because they have lost the ability to move and the dignity that goes with that. It is becoming more difficult for front line workers to work in an environment where their residents only get worse.

The industry is addressing the symptomatic human resource issue rather than address a much more basic problem – resident immobility. Up until now addressing the mobility problem has been impossible because equipment that provides safe mobility training did not exist or was not practical. NeuroGym® Technologies’ safer and more effective mobility training equipment will actually lighten employees’ loads as residents become more mobile.

Why do you say that NeuroGym® Technologies is leading a paradigm shift in elder care?

The NeuroGym® line of mobility training devices was developed to allow greater access to safe and effective movement and Falls Prevention training. We recognized that much of the decline in motor abilities in Seniors is due to disuse and lack of effective exercise programs. While sitting in a circle doing chair exercises may once have been considered exercise, it is now widely known that this very light intensity exercise does little to maintain and improve critical motor skills important for functional independence and safe walking. NeuroGym® Technologies is helping elder care facilities be on the leading edge of this paradigm shift from immobility to mobility.

Is there any financial incentive to putting more effort into improving the functional independence of our residents?

Governments in both Canada and the US are moving from subsidizing immobility to paying for mobility. They now realize that it is much more expensive to subsidize immobility in elder care than to pay for improving mobility in those who cannot move, and as important, preventing decline in mobility for those who can move. As a result, governments on both sides of the border are implementing programs that pay for improvements in resident mobility. Significant improvements in mobility can be realized through specific mobility training with the appropriate equipment and methodology.

The cost of immobility results from both increased direct health care costs, and the costs associated with employee turnover and low morale. In long term care, one bed sore costs about $70,000 US. This amount is small compared to the cost of the many medical conditions that are worsened by immobility, including depression due to decreasing independence in self care.

We have lifts in our facility – why would we need mobility training equipment?

While lifts are a necessity in nursing or assisted living facilities, if they are overused they are simply adding to the problem of immobility. If an individual is lifted in and out of bed, their ability to ever do this again independently is extremely limited. In the past, there was little equipment that could easily help them regain the ability to stand and transfer independently, particularly where ‘no lift’ policies were invoked. The NeuroGym® Sit-to-Stand Trainer, for example, can be used at the bedside to regain this vital skill.

We have seen the difference this type of mobility training equipment has made in both the lives of seniors and their caregivers. Within 4-6 weeks (three times per week) of sit-to-stand training on our Sit-to-Stand machine, seniors begin to see dramatic increases in lower extremity strength and may regain the ability to transfer themselves. We have seen individuals improve transfers enough to toilette themselves again. At very least they gain enough strength to make the transfer much easier for the caregiver. As seniors begin to become more active, other things improve such as bed sores, overall health and most importantly mental attitude – they see they are improving!

Exercise Wheelchair

How easy is it for someone with trunk and limb weakness to operate the Exercise Wheelchair?

The Exercise Wheelchair is designed to be an effective exercise option for a  full range of motor abilities.  The legs can be exercised separately from the trunk, and when the trunk is included, a very weak individual can begin with only a small range of trunk flexion and extension.  As strength and coordination improve, the range of motion at the hips can be increased.

Can the Exercise Wheelchair be used as a regular wheelchair?

Yes, the Exercise wheelchair operates as a regular wheelchair when not in ‘exercise mode’.  The leg mechanism slides up under the chair and the seat back can be locked in place.

Home Care & Retirement

Is the NeuroGym® equipment safe for home use?

Yes, the NeuroGym® equipment is safe for home use provided that there is adequate room for the equipment. The Pendulum Stepper, Exercise Wheelchair and Sit to Stand Trainer have all been used in private homes – either in the bed room, living room or recreation room. The Bungee Mobility Trainer needs more space if it is to be used for walking. Some clients use this in their basement or rec room. Retirement homes can provide Pendulum Steppers for client use on their own, for example in a common room or TV room, or in the gym area for exercise groups.

NeuroGym® Trainer

We use video games like Nintendo Wii at our facility. How does the NeuroGym® Trainer differ from this?

The NeuroGym® Trainer is much for clinically effective tool because the user/therapist can specify the parameters such that the clinical goal is achieved with the correct musculature & postural requirements.  For example, there are many ways to move a hand held controller to successfully interact with a general video game.  The clinical goal, however, may to be move the arm in such a way that the trunk posture remains stable.  The NeuroGym® Trainer is designed to allow the therapist to set parameters so that very specific movements can be required to successfully interact with the video game, so that training is much more clinically sensitive and effective.

Pendulum Stepper

We already have exercise bicycles and individual cycler machines. Why would we need a Pendulum Stepper?

While cycling is an excellent exercise, the Pendulum Stepper is designed to more closely reflect the stepping motions required in walking. It is specifically designed to target the antigravity muscles so important for maintaining balance and gait. Even those with extremely weak lower extremities can participate because they can assist with their arms or they can have the assistance of a caregiver until they develop the strength to make the stepping motions on their own. In addition, the Pendulum Stepper can be used from the supine position.

Rehabilitation

How can NeuroGym® equipment enhance my physiotherapy practice?

NeuroGym® Technologies equipment was developed by a physiotherapist working with neurologic patient populations. Each product was designed to help physiotherapists achieve their therapeutic goals more effectively. Goals such as improving strength, joint mobility, balance and coordination may all be addressed with the NeuroGym® equipment. For more information about how specific products can be used to achieve different therapeutic goals, review the individual product pages and associated Frequently Asked Questions.