How Does Robotic Therapy Help Stroke Survivors With Better Quality Of Life?

Robots (exoskeletons and end effector types) are designed to re-train walking.

Individuals with a stroke are usually discharged from the hospital once they are medically stable, and most are left with some amount of limb and body weakness. They are generally wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair with an accompanying caregiver or nurse because they cannot physically look after themselves or even walk normally. Sometimes they are unable to speak and swallow normally. A stroke can also affect memory, attention span, and personality. Therefore, Consultant Physiotherapist Poonam Bajaj Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, says that the next few months or years are dedicated to neurological rehabilitation for many individuals afflicted with stroke.

Does Stroke Survivor Go On To Become Normal Again?

Yes, it gets better, but most stroke survivors have to find a “new normal”. Seeing this new normal requires neurological rehabilitation. Neurological rehabilitation involves teaching the patient how to walk, talk, swallow, fix their attention and gaze on the person or object before them and many other inputs. The first 3- 6 months after a stroke are considered the “golden period” for post-stroke rehabilitation because maximum recovery occurs.

Traditionally Physical Therapy

It starts as soon as the stroke survivor is medically stable, even within the acute care setting of the hospital. After discharge, this is typically carried out on an outpatient basis. First, the patient is made to achieve sitting, then standing balance and then taught how to walk, which is called gait training. Simultaneously they are taught how to use their arms initially to reach, and then fine movement retraining is done to relearn grasping. Just like any new skill or re-learning, repetition is crucial. Motor re-learning occurs best when repetitions are maximized.

Robots (Exoskeletons And End Effector Types)

They are designed to re-train walking. Some are designed to retrain the hand to eat or drink water from a glass by oneself. These robots are operated by therapists (physical therapists, occupational therapists) and are adjusted for the amount of assistance provided to the patient. More aid would prevent motor learning. Too little would lead to frustration with an unaccomplished goal.

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