SOMC Rehab Technology Helping People Walk

Rehabilitation patients suffering from balance, posture, neurological and muscular problems will be able to receive quicker, safer and more efficient training through the use of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s new Lite Gait system in the Acute Rehab Unit.

“The new Lite Gait system helps patients who have lost the ability to use their lower extremities regain a normal gait pattern, strength and endurance in a supported environment, ” Belinda Diles, program director of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “We are the first hospital in South Central Ohio to have this new equipment and our patients have already started seeing ambulatory improvements from its use.”

The Lite Gait system works by harnessing a patient over a treadmill or the ground, allowing them to practice walking in a secure, upright position. This helps in protecting unstable patients from falling and also allows therapists to use both of their hands when observing gait patterns.

“In the past, patients with severe debilitating conditions would require the assistance of two or three staff members to support their weight,” Diles said. “But the new system completely supports any patient weighing up to 500 pounds, allowing therapists to concentrate more on correcting the patient’s problem.”

The system can be custom-tailored to meet the needs and ability level of every patient. When used in conjunction with a treadmill, the system allows patients to work at their own pace, gradually increasing speed and decreasing support as their walking improves.

“This equipment will allow us to better serve a variety of patients including those affected by stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries, major multiple trauma and various neuropathies,” Dr. Jeffery Williams, medical director of Acute Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “By providing patients with this level of treatment, it solidifies our position as the tri-state area leader in Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation.”