We are pleased to announce that we recently (July 2020) purchased an innovative suite of gait-therapy equipment for our outpatient therapy center in Reading, thanks to a $22,195 grant from The Neag Foundation. The equipment includes a GaitKeeper treadmill, GaitSens balance and gait-analysis system and LiteGait partial weight-bearing system. The equipment will most often be used together, but the treadmill and weight bearing system can be used independently, which expands their functionality. Watch a short video by Mobility Research to see the equipment in use.
The GaitKeeper treadmill has sensors that measure the user’s gait and provide real-time feedback of a patient’s performance. Users can see the pattern of their gait and the impact made when they adjust their step, alongside a visual of the goals the therapist has set. The software records the session and collects data for evaluation, goal-setting and reporting.
The LiteGait partial weight-bearing system supports the patient over the treadmill in an upright position, providing the security of a fall-free environment and the experience of standing upright with correct posture. It also has the option for the patient to be full or partial weight bearing with sensors providing feedback that enables the therapist to make precise adjustments to provide more support on either side, or decrease support as the patient progresses.
The end result is patients spend more time exercising in a safe, fall-free environment that allows them to focus on improving posture, coordination and endurance, gradually increasing the weight they can bear. The biometric feedback provides immediate visual and audible feedback to encourage and motivate patients to reach their therapeutic goals, which will be achieved at an accelerated rate compared to traditional therapeutic interventions.
Christine Paris, outpatient therapy and clinic services manager, said, “We had the equipment demonstrated with one of our patients utilizing the system and it was truly impressive. What moved me most was the reaction of the consumer, who did not want to get out of the harness or stop walking on the treadmill because she loved the sensation of standing upright and freely walking. I look forward to seeing her first day using the equipment in a therapy session and tracking the impact it has on her mobility.”
According to Nancy Knoebel, CEO, “Children with disabilities often require a variety of therapies, and we strive to offer the latest interventions to meet their needs.” Studies have proven that gait training with partial weight support over a treadmill is far superior to other methods because it provides a more sustained practice and greater efficiency in providing therapy. Incorporating this equipment into our therapy program will exponentially improve outcomes for a variety of our patients. The equipment is appropriate for use with a wide-range of disabilities and will accommodate consumers from age four to twenty-one.
About The Neag Foundation
The Neag Foundation serves as a philanthropic force for positive change in education, health, and human services initiatives dedicated to improving the human condition and making a positive difference in the world. It supports requests to improve and enhance education, human services and make a medical impact, primarily in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The foundation’s mission is to provide grants that improve and enhance communities. In all cases, the goal is the same: to make a positive impact and help people live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
The Neag Foundation celebrates the life and legacy of Raymond and Carole Neag. Ray Neag, a philanthropist who worked in the medical device industry, passed in 2018 and Carole continues to carry on their work and impact, contributing to many educational and charitable institutions. They are among the most prominent supporters of the University of Connecticut. Their gifts transformed the Neag School of Education and the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center and made significant contributions to many other programs, helping to raise UConn’s national profile. The Neags are also well known to Berks County for their generosity, donating to the Caron Treatment Center in South Heidelberg Township, the Neag Planetarium in Reading, and the Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center.