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LECOM Institute for Successful Aging Invests in Patient Care Through 'Revolutionary' Device

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (LECOM) Institute for Successful Aging, a regional leader in the care of older adults, has begun using a revolutionary new technology in the rehabilitation of its patients.

The Institute’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) has been using the AlterG Bionic Leg™, the world’s first wearable, robotic mobility assistance device activated by the patient’s intent to move. It gives patients with impaired or diminished mobility resulting from illness or injury the support and confidence to take the proverbial next step.

“We’re excited to be the first health care provider in northwestern Pennsylvania to treat patients with the leading mobility assistance product,” said Danielle Hansen, D.O., Associate Director of the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging and Vice President of Acute Care Services and Quality/Performance Improvement at Millcreek Community Hospital. “It will be an important complement to our existing treatment options.”

A 37-year-old man who had considerable weakness in his left side after suffering his second stroke is the first patient to be treated at the IRU with the AlterG device. “Wearing the device on his left leg, the patient has been able to walk progressively further and in more of a straight line with each session,” said Shelly Mayes, Director of Therapy for the IRU.
The AlterG Bionic Leg helps patients rebuild neuromuscular pathways and improves active motor learning by providing functional strength and dynamic stability; the leg facilitates increased neuroplasticity, thereby helping patients improve stance and gait. It is ideal for orthopedic physical therapy patients and those recovering from nervous-system related injuries as well as stroke victims and individuals with degenerative diseases.

The device was designed to be lightweight while also providing the assistance needed to help patients more actively participate in sit-to-stand, overground walking and stair-climbing exercises. When the patient begins to stand or ascend a stair, the software’s sensors detect the weight shift and the knee angle changes; the device applies assistive force to help lift the patient. When the patient sits or goes down stairs, the device offers resistance to facilitate a smooth, controlled descent.

For more information about the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging, call (814) 868-7850, email SMayes@mch1.org or visit maerie.org/aging.php.

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