Mobility = Independence
Today, neuroscience can prove that rehabilitation is more successful the sooner mobilization begins. Another issue that should not be neglected is that nowadays therapy tries to let the patients participate in the normal and everyday life at an very early stage, because us humans are social beings. So, participation in social occasions and everyday life is essential for a fast rehabilitation.
Gait trainer AssiStep
There are numerous aids used in gait rehabilitation. Be it robotics-based gait trainer or end-effector devices that help re-learn walking. However, these are only used in support of the classic gait training with the therapists, because they can not completely replace them. It is similar with the gait training on the stairs.
Depending on the severity of the restricted range of motion, the user receives support from therapists during stair climbing training, and in rehabilitation centers, training is always carried out with a therapist. In addition to therapists, the gait trainer AssiStep can be used as a therapy device specifically for stair training.
Rehabilitation with the AssiStep
AssiStep not only serves as a stair climbing aid in your own home to accompany you safely and in a supportive manner when climbing stairs, but it is already widely used as a therapy device in rehab facilities, nursing homes and retirement homes as a gait trainer.
The smart design not only helps the patient, but also ensures that the therapists who train walking the stairs with the patient get support. The handle can be used both in front of and behind the patient.
AssiStep in front of the user
When the handle is placed in front of the patient, the patient can hold on to it, getting the support and safety he needs to safely climb the stairs. When going up the stairs, the patient can pull himself up, if necessary, with the help of the handle, without having to direct his strength completely to his arms. If the right and left handrails are used instead of the AssiStep, the strength lies usually not on the legs, but on the arms. As a result, the patient experiences no physiological process of climbing stairs and therefore the leg muscles are not strengthened to the same extent as with the gait trainer AssiStep. This is due to the posture, where you can maintain an upright position with a support directly in front of the body.
There is also an improvement in core muscles and posture due to this.
- "After my son started using the gait trainer AssiStep, we’ve noticed a big difference when he’s walking ordinary staircases. He has much more core strength and his posture has improved greatly.” -mother of child with CP.
When walking down the stairs, the patient can also hold on to the handle and thus has a physical as well as mental assurance and security when climbing stairs. Often, patients who need to train or relearn how to climb stairs are afraid of going down the stairs - it's like a steep slope or a mountain from which you look down. If you have the AssiStep in front of you, you prevent a possible fall and can go down stairs safely and more relaxed.
AssiStep behind the user
Especially in the therapeutic situation, the handle can also be used behind the patient. While going up the stairs, this helps to prevent the patient from falling backwards, thus assisting the patient as well as the therapist which accompanies the patient from behind.
Rehabilitation with or without a therapist
Depending on the severity of the disease or diagnosis, the AssiStep may be used as a therapy device with or without the assistance of a therapist. In Scandinavia, a large number of occupational therapists and physiotherapists are already working with the stair assistant to speed up the rehabilitation process of patients after a stroke or a hip fracture. AssiStep is also used in rehabilitation centers and retirement homes in Germany and Austria to keep seniors active and to promote the independent climbing of the stairs. In the long run, this offers the great advantage of maintaining your own mobility and autonomy.
We visited the rehabilitation center Geerlofs in Pforzheim, where the AssiStep has been installed in their staircase in the summer of 2017. There, the therapists regularly work with the AssiStep as a supportive tool to practice climbing stairs with patients such as Dmitri Tschatschin, who has been in wheelchair since 2016 due to an incomplete paraplegia. As for the training with the AssiStep he tells us as follows:
"If you sit in a wheelchair for a long time, then it's a bad habit that you do everything with your arms. You really should not do that. AssiStep's big advantage is that you have to do a lot yourself for the sake of therapy and that's what's important."
Gait rehabilitation must be tailored to each patient, depending on the severity of the disability or diagnosis as they do it with Dmitri at the rehab center as well. With the AssiStep, the user, whether in his own home or during a training session with a therapist, the user can determine in which pace and with what amount of support the stair climbing should or needs to be trained.
Sick after surgery
We have also talked to Barbara from Weimar about using the AssiStep as a therapy device at home. Barbara has been in a wheelchair since 2015, after having caught the MRSA bacteria - the so-called hospital bacteria - through a knee prosthesis surgery. After about ten operations in the last three years, she can finally - by her unwavering will - finally take a few steps on her own. Barbara had the AssiStep installed at her house in the summer of 2017 and uses the stair assistant with the support of her husband Rudi regularly. The two train the stair climbing together and even after a short time already see good progress with Barbara.
For all ages
AssiStep can be used as a training device both by old and young people. Our youngest user Peder is six years old and has cerebral palsy (CP). Up until now, he could not climb the stairs at all. Since he had the AssiStep installed at home, he is able to go up and down the stairs independently. But not only his gait function has improved considerably but also his mood. Peder's mother also told us that the regular use of AssiStep at home has changed his core muscles and posture in a positive manner.
It becomes apparent that AssiStep contributes positively to the development of the muscles and motivates the user to keep moving and mobile. AssiStep removes both physical but also psychological barriers from the user and secures climbing stairs in not only a physical but also mental way. By regularly using the AssiStep, the user slowly builds up his muscles or maintains the already existing muscles. This contributes immensely to strengthening the balance and thus helps to reduce the risk of falling and consequently ensures safer walking.