Following an illness or injury, patients can often become trapped in a vicious cycle of weakness that prevents them from moving forward to regain strength and function. The inability to exercise and build strength safely has long been a stumbling block for patients and a significant challenge for therapists. But thanks to new technologies like the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System, therapists at Evergreen Health And Rehab can offer early and intense therapy at a stage that would previously not have been possible.
What is the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System?
ZeroG is an amazing, high-tech system providing weight support to allow patients to complete therapy without the risk of falling. This allows even the weakest, most physically challenged and least confident patients to make progress in physical therapy. Designed and built in Northern Virginia, ZeroG is the first robotic overground body weight support system available to rehab centers.
How Does ZeroG Work?
The ZeroG robot runs on an overhead track and is attached to a harness to keep patients safe and secure. The robot moves with the patient under a set of strict parameters set up by the therapist using the system’s computer brain. The ZeroG software not only allows therapists to plan therapy sessions setting up a specific range of motion levels tailored to each patient, but it also offers motivation to patients, transforming physical therapy from a chore into a source of satisfaction and enjoyment. Patients use ZeroG to work on walking, balance activities, moving from sitting to standing, climbing stairs, and other essential activities.
Patients are both motivated and guided by immediate on-screen feedback during therapy sessions about how their movements are hitting targets, and interactive games make therapy more fun and rewarding. The system offers a range of safety measures, and therapists use ZeroG’s software to set up specific levels of range of movement tailored to each patient, along with an emergency stop function. The Aretech safety harnesses produced by ZeroG’s parent company are comfortable, come in a wide range of sizes and are easy to get in and out of for patients.
What Injuries And Illnesses Does ZeroG Help Patients Recover From?
Over the last decade, ZeroG has been used to help patients with a range of injuries and medical diagnoses to improve or regain strength and function. ZeroG opens new doors for patients who have experienced a stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and orthopedic injury, along with clients diagnosed with cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. ZeroG is designed for use by both children and adults. At Evergreen, the ZeroG system is used very successfully with stroke patients and patients with chronic illness, including heavy patients with COPD or congestive heart failure who are unable to move from sitting to standing. ZeroG can be used for patients up to 450 pounds for specific therapies.
Why Does Evergreen Offer The ZeroG System?
While some patients are working on more challenging tasks like getting up stairs, for others, just getting up from a seated position can be a considerable challenge. In the past, helping patients move often involved assistance from multiple therapists, and the patient was still at risk of falling.
Evergreen is the only rehab facility in the Winchester area offering ZeroG. We have chosen to make this important investment because the system lets therapists be more aggressive in their programming without creating a falling risk. Unlike a traditional patient lift, ZeroG is not just getting patients from one place to another, but helping them improve or regain function with targeted activities.
Another critical aspect for Evergreen therapists is that ZeroG’s advanced technology records data and captures metrics allowing us to understand patients’ progress. Our therapists select settings and plan the session via ZeroG software and can integrate sessions with our special treadmills. Training data then goes straight into a database to help us track progress and plan future sessions.
What Are The Lasting Benefits Of ZeroG Treatment?
The main benefit of ZeroG is that it gives patients more confidence in their ability to move and a sense of security that allows for faster progress.
ZeroG’s fall protection lets therapists try more aggressive and useful therapies earlier in a patient’s recovery. It empowers therapists to get the most out of patients, pushing them while allowing them to feel safe and comfortable. That sense of confidence and the ability to push patients in a safe setting means better outcomes once the patient returns home. ZeroG allows patients to regain strength while working on balance and function, all of which translates to greater independence in the long term.