A specialist residential rehabilitation centre has invested in the latest cutting-edge rehab tech equipment, becoming the first place in the UK to offer access to world-class robotics and VR technology.
STEPS Rehabilitation – which delivers intensive rehabilitation for people recovering from brain injury, spinal cord injury, strokes and complex trauma injuries – is now home to some of the most innovative rehab tech on offer globally.
The equipment, from Fourier Intelligence and MindMaze, is housed in the Sheffield centre’s new addition, STEPS RehabHub.
As reported in the current issue of NR Times, STEPS has become the first UK Fourier Intelligence Rehabilitation Hub, a Singapore-based technology company that develops pioneering exoskeleton and rehabilitation robotics.
By combining the expertise and experience of researchers, therapists, and patients, the business has become established globally in developing new robotic solutions to support the rehabilitation process and lives of patients.
“We’re offering this new tech in conjunction with Thor Assistive Technologies,” reveals STEPS business development director, Jules Leahy.
“We’ve been working with the founder, Stephen Ruffle, for a while now with the ReWalk Exoskeleton, and we know just how much clients can progress with the assistance of the right technology.
“The RehabHub is a suite of rehab technology which focus on both upper and lower limb robotic therapy, as well as cognitive feedback and training, providing a complete solution for neurorehabilitation” explains Stephen.
“The unique and innovative ‘Force Feedback’ technology creates an immersive game environment which facilitates highly effective rehabilitation. Use of the technology naturally encourages repetition and intensity which improves client engagement and outcomes.
“As the devices are all linked, it enables client-against-client gaming competition, which enhances motivation and stamina. The technology also provides therapists and clients with performance feedback which tracks client progress and helps shape individual rehabilitation programmes.”
The equipment includes the latest in cycle motion, arm, wrist, finger, and ankle rehabilitation robotics.
“Clients can access the pioneering OTParvos alone or in conjunction with the HandyRehab,” explains clinical director, Toria Chan.
“These amazing pieces of kit used together provide a portable intelligent solution for therapy, supporting the functional rehabilitation of the upper limb, fine motor skills of the fingers, hand-eye coordination and cognitive ability.
“They allow clients to undertake training using everyday objects with the assistance of a lightweight robotic glove, with quantifiable data being recorded in real time enhancing the rehabilitation process. We can’t wait to see the results!”
As well as being the first UK Fourier Intelligence Rehabilitation Hub, STEPS is also now one of only two UK facilities offering clients access to the revolutionary MindMaze virtual reality rehabilitation technology.
Developed in Switzerland, this trailblazing VR technology helps clients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.
“We’ve been carefully exploring what VR technology is out there, and the portfolio of MindMaze equipment is truly impressive,” explains Toria.
“It includes the MindMotion GO, a first-of-its-kind mobile neurorehabilitation therapy system that comes with a large variety of gamified engaging activities covering motor and task functions. Thanks to the motivating effects of the 3D virtual environment, early results suggest an increased client engagement and adherence to therapy.”
The MindPod Dolphin, a highly engaging animated gaming experience which promotes the recovery of motor skills and cognitive function. “The dolphin has been designed by Pixar animators, no less!” says Toria.
“It comes with an anti-gravity vest that de-weights the arm and trains fine-motor control of the upper-limb by encouraging continuous exploration of its immersive oceanic environment.”
STEPS is also in discussions to collaborate with the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University to undertake new research that will investigate and explore the benefits of this new rehabilitation technology.
The specialist centre at the University is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing through movement, harnessing world-class research and design.
“We’re excited to be able to offer clients access to such an array of leading-edge technology. Added to that, we’re also now an assessment centre for the latest in exoskeleton technology,” says Jules.
“What’s truly special and unique is that this is all delivered in our purpose-built residential setting supported by our specialist team of clinicians who are experts in their field.
“We’re delighted that by giving clients access to this incredible technology we will maximise the opportunity for them to reach their full potential.”
Chroma expands services in two Voyage Care homes
Music and arts therapies will be used to help support the emotional and psychological wellbeing of residents
Arts therapies provider Chroma has extended its contract with social care and support provider, Voyage Care, to deliver creative arts therapy services at two more of its care homes.
Residents at Devonshire House in Manchester and Cedar Road in the West Midlands will receive music therapy (MT), neurologic music therapy (NMT) and art therapy sessions to support their emotional and psychological wellbeing.
During assessment procedures, additional functional needs were identified in some residents, so NMT techniques are also being incorporated to facilitate opportunities to work towards other goals in joint working with speech and language and physiotherapy.
Devonshire House, in Ardwick, Manchester is a 24-bed specialist brain injury rehabilitation service with three wings. Residents are either active rehab, slower stream rehabilitation or long-term stay. Therapists work with all three residential sectors across the three wings.
Cedar Road is a nine-bed residential care home for slower stream, long-stay residents who receive the support they need to enable them to develop and maintain their independence and cognitive skills following a brain injury.
The creative arts therapists use a range of psychological and psychodynamic techniques to support the expression of memories and emotions in ways that do not rely on words. The forming of a therapeutic relationship is key to enabling and empowering individuals to express their emotions, manage overwhelming feelings and to process traumatic memories, safely.
Both individual and group sessions are used depending on the needs of the people supported.
The creative arts therapists also support individuals to meet functional goals through NMT techniques including Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), which uses rhythmic speech cueing to encourage speech, Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) to help improve gait or Therapeutic Instrumental Musical Performance (TIMP) to prepare the body for functional movement.
Louise Houghton, ABI placements manager at Voyage Care, said: “Voyage Care is centred on social rehabilitation. The impact of loneliness and poor mental health, for care home residents, has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, which is why we are extremely happy to be able to provide these services within the already well-established multidisciplinary team and look forward to the positive impact we know it will make to our residents and their emotional needs.”
Chroma’s neurologic music therapist Claire Maddocks and art therapist, Jackie McVey, will deliver one-to-one sessions as well as support speech and language and physio therapists.
Claire said: “It’s exciting to have two arts therapy modalities in Voyage Care homes, and being able to incorporate them early on in a new home alongside the multidisciplinary team. It demonstrates the acknowledgement of the importance of arts therapies and the significant role they play in providing emotional and psychological support.”
Jackie said: “It is commonplace, in residential care homes, for long-term residents to experience loneliness to some degree and it’s important we do as much as we can to help reduce such incidences.
“Group therapy has proven itself a great way to promote interaction with others. We have previously delivered group music therapy sessions at Lorenzo Drive to help tackle loneliness, which was a resounding success so I have every confidence this art therapy group will too.”
Alongside one-to-one art therapy sessions, Jackie plans to create group sessions focusing on social interaction and social skills.
Since the arts therapies services began in September 2021, attendance to weekly sessions has remained consistently high, reflecting the positive impact sessions are having upon residents’ lives, both emotionally and psychologically.
Exemplar Health Care opens latest specialist care home
The complex needs care home in Pontefract also has a dedicated neuro-disability unit
Exemplar Health Care, a provider of specialist nursing care for adults living with complex needs, has officially opened its £3.4million state-of-the-art specialist care home in Pontefract.
Bennett Court, based on Ash Grove in South Elmsall, will be Exemplar Health Care’s sixth home in West Yorkshire.
The home supports up to 30 people and specialisea in supporting adults living with complex mental health needs, neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, spinal injuries and complex dementia.
Bennett Court has the expertise and facilities to support some of the most complex and acute individuals, who would often be in a hospital setting if not placed with them, enabling them to stay in the community and reducing hospital and secure facility admission.
Specialist nursing care for adults living with neuro-disabilities
Bennett Court has the facilities to provide specialist nursing care for people living with neuro-disabilities or neurodegenerative disorders.
The home has 30 large bedrooms, each with an en-suite, across three ten-bed units. All three units have the provision for bariatric care.
This small group living provides a homely and supportive environment, which is more responsive to people’s needs.
Lily Unit is a dedicated unit for those living with dementia.
And the home’s Poppy Unit is a male-only environment which supports up to ten adults living with complex health needs and mixed diagnoses, including neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities and those who have tracheostomies, ventilators and PEG feeds.
Being on the ground floor and with garden access rooms, Poppy Unit is ideal for those living with a neuro-disability.
Other facilities at Bennett Court
Bennett Court has communal dining and living spaces as well as a cafe, therapy room, salon and large accessible garden.
The home hosts a restaurant-style dining menu which is developed with service users at quarterly Food Forums.
This ensures that menus are varied, interesting and available to everyone, taking into account personal preferences, condition-specific and religious dietary requirements.
“It is extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs”
Speaking about the opening, Helen Lawson, Commissioning Home Director for Bennett Court, said: “I’m thrilled to have opened Exemplar Health Care’s newest home in West Yorkshire.
“This community-based home will provide person-centered care and rehabilitation that focuses on maximising independence, building everyday living skills, and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs, and to provide over 150 stable and local jobs for those wanting to be part of a new team where you can make a difference and every day better.”