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Practical use of the Innowalk Pro in a neurological rehabilitation unit

Rikke Damkjær Moen - Physiotherapist and Medical Manager
Rikke Damkjær Moen - Physiotherapist and Medical Manager
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Man with face mask in Innowalk and their therapist

The Innowalk Pro full-body movement trainer has been in daily use at the SRH Fachkrankenhaus Neresheim since June 2022. Learn all about the therapist's experience - the initial challenges and how their everyday work has changed.

The neurological rehabilitation unit

“We are a neurological early rehabilitation unit with phase B patients. It can be patients with severe craniocerebral injuries due to stroke, traumatic brain injury or cerebral haemorrhage. We also treat patients with peripheral damage after a long intensive care stay and other neurological diseases, such as the Guillain-Barré syndrome.”  

Head of Therapy, physiotherapist Ira Böhm, physiotherapist Julia Hirner and Head of Therapy, occupation therapist Carina Unsöld face a wide variety of challenges every day, because early rehabilitation therapy approaches are already combined with intensive care medicine in the specialist clinic. 

The department has an interdisciplinary approach and work cross functional, taking into account surgical, orthopaedic and internal medicine aspects. The needs of the patients at the intensive care unit require special attention because they can be partially ventilated, monitored and are tied to their hospital room.


Therapy in the unit

The therapy program starts directly in the intensive care unit. The patients go through various mobility stages, from sitting on the edge of the bed to standing or walking training with different equipment.

Typically, patients spend between 40 days to 9 months at the SRH Fachkrankenhaus Neresheim. After around 4 weeks in the intensive care unit, the patients are transferred to the rehabilitation ward in house. According to the German Operation and Procedure Code ( Operationen- und Prozedurenschlüssel OPS), 300 minutes of treatment are individually planned per patient daily in various areas. Of these, 120 minutes are allocated to the therapy area. The achievement of therapy goals is regularly discussed and documented, and the goals are adjusted if necessary.

The Innowalk Pro – an integrated part of the rehabilitation

SRH Fachkrankehaus Neresheim have invested in the Innowalk Pro full-body movement trainer and have used it for over a year. The therapists describe their experiences:

“At the beginning it was a bit challenging to get used to handling the equipment, e.g. where to position the device at the bedside. In our case we use the Innowalk Pro directly in the patient room, not in the therapy facilities. Regarding the patient population, we now use the Innowalk Pro with individuals for whom we initially had concerns about whether it was even possible, as their trunk and/or head control was very limited. Our skills on setting up and handling of the Innowalk Pro have improved dramatically with more experience and routines, and it is now much quicker than at the beginning”.

 What the clinicians found is particularly positive is the realization that the Innowalk Pro is more versatile than initially thought! They explain that it is suitable for many types of patients, including those who have limited ability to actively participate in the transfer process, and its mobility usability is a valuable asset. The therapists can simultaneously monitor patients accordingly while making optimal use of the therapy time. A familiarization phase for both patients and therapists is needed when starting up to use the Innowalk Pro, before you see positive outcome of the treatment - often quickly than expected!

The therapists report an example from their practice:

“One patient comes to mind spontaneously! Initially he basically “conquered” the device because his tone was so high, and he caused the Innowalk Pro to stop. He's now coping with it much better and adapt his tone to the movement much better - and overall, even during the transfers, you notice that there is less muscle tension and a lot more understanding of the situation. After the session, the transfer in standing is also much easier with more active participation assistance from the patient.

The Innowalk Pro has a spasm control function, where the objective is to stop the movement of the legs if the user has a spasm. This feature ensures safe use.

Intensive robotic rehabilitation trainer

At the SRH Fachkrankenhaus Neresheim, great emphasis is placed on head and trunk control, and thus stability. The patient population ranges from people with extremely high tone, who struggle to adapt it to the situation, to patients without any head or trunk control. Experience confirms that after a passive phase in the Innowalk Pro, the dynamics of the movement lead to reflexive trunk activity, which in turn leads to improved head control and alertness in patients. The robotic rehabilitation trainer can be adjusted to different sizes and individual needs

Intensive training and more therapy time, due to a quick start in the device and a high number of repetitions during the exercise, enables a greater training effect. The patients are motivated to actively participate in the training. In contrast to other devices, the arms are also part of the movement in the Innowalk Pro, automatically including more dynamic movement of the trunk. In general, therapy with severely injured patients can start at an early stage than with previously known devices.

Confidence in using the Innowalk Pro

 “The Innowalk Pro itself is foolproof to use. It is as easy to use as a hand mixer”, says the therapist at Neresheim.

All the therapists at the rehabilitation unit have been trained in using the movement trainer and feel confident. There a good routine for handling the device which increases therapists' confidence - and ultimately 20-25 minutes of training time per session is possible. The primary focus can be on the patient, and the professional success becomes visible.  

In addition, there is the physical relief of the therapists in their daily work through securing patients safely in the equipment with a belt system and reduced hands-on time.

The employees at the SRH Fachkrankenhaus have a valuable tool at their disposal with the motor-assisted therapy device Innowalk Pro, which makes the workplace more attractive and fostering motivation on all sides.

A heartfelt thanks to the therapy team from Neresheim for the interview – and continued joy and success with the Innowalk Pro!

Get in touch

Rikke Damkjær Moen - Physiotherapist and Medical Manager
Rikke Damkjær Moen - Physiotherapist and Medical Manager

Rikke Damkjær Moen brings many years of experience as clinical physiotherapist to the Made for Movement team. Her mission is to ensure that everybody, regardless of mobility problems, should be able to experience the joy and health benefits of physical activity. As our Medical Manager, Rikke is passionate about sharing knowledge so that individuals with special needs, families, and clinicians can discover the possibilities and solutions provided by Made for Movement.

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