Home > Siena > Giving Lives Back – St. Rose Dominican’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility

Giving Lives Back – St. Rose Dominican’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility

When Josh woke at his home in Henderson in the middle of the night unable to walk, paramedics rushed him to St. Rose Dominican’s Rose de Lima Campus. After spending two weeks in the hospital getting his health stabilized, the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) staff took over and helped Josh walk out the front doors.

Josh was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre (pronounced Gē-yän Bä Rā) Syndrome, a rare, serious autoimmune disorder that damages the nerves, causing muscle weakness and paralysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the syndrome affects one out of every 100,000 people.

“Doctors think I had a virus that locked on to my nerve endings,” says Josh. “So after fighting off the virus, my body thought the nerve endings were still part of it, and it just kept attacking.” With Josh bedridden, doctors turned to the hospital’s IRF and its new robotic technology for answers.

Fortunately for Josh, the IRF had recently received three new robotic rehabilitation therapy machines made by Hocoma® Products: the Erigo®, Lokomat Pro®, and Armeo®Power and Hand Therapy robot. According to Dr. Tony Chin, Medical Director of the IRF, the hospital is the first in the southwest United States to receive the equipment.

erigo basic 27RT_smErigo® – The Erigo® (shown right) is a robotic mobilization and electrical stimulation support system that helps patients stand again after long periods of lying down. Named Apollo Zen by the IRF (“Apollo” for god of the sky and “Zen” for health), it gradually moves the patient into an upright position, allowing them to gain the strength to stand. Robotic foot pedals help patients improve their blood circulation while doing passive, active or resisted exercise. The system also uses functional electrical stimulation to assist in muscle contraction, which speeds strengthening.

“The whole idea is to get the muscles to contract so we get blood flow back to the heart,” says Dr. Chin. “With good blood flow, the heart starts to pump, and we can slowly tilt the patient upright while maintaining their blood pressure. If they’re able to maintain blood pressure, they’re able to do therapy.”

A few days after Josh was admitted to Rose de Lima, the Erigo® arrived. He was the first patient to test out the new technology. “The Erigo® was amazing,” says Josh. “It got me moving again. I’ve been on my feet ever since.”

Lokomat Pro® – The IRF’s Lokomat Pro®, a customizable robotic gait training system that helps patients walk again, has been nicknamed “Optimus Yung” (Optimus, a robot character in the movie “Transformers” that helps humans, and Yung, the Chinese word for “courageous”). The name is fitting because it takes a lot of courage for a patient to get on the machine and try to walk again after a stroke or traumatic injury.

lokomat pro 7The machine (shown left) hoists patients upright using a harness that moves up and down and side to side to simulate the natural “bob” of a walking person. Robotic legs attach to the patient’s hips, knees, and ankles to guide them as they move forward on a treadmill, and a hip attachment feature allows natural hip movement. A video screen facing the patient offers games that encourage and provide instant feedback.

The Lokomat Pro® has both automatic and manual settings. New patients are typically placed on an automatic setting so they can experience concise and repetitive movements to form new muscle memory. The settings are gradually moved to manual as the patient improves. “The movement has to be precise and accurate,” says Dr. Chin. “If not, they will learn a bad pathway.”

After stabilizing his blood pressure using the Erigo®, Josh used the Lokomat Pro® to regain his ability to walk. “The machine got me started,” says Josh. “I went from not being able to walk to moving my legs to being able to hold my weight to walking all over again. Now, I feel like I can almost jump again.”

“It’s like the old expression, ‘You never forget how to ride a bike,’” says Josh. “Well, you never forget how to walk either. Sometimes it just takes a while to get it down the way you did before, but the amazing staff here at the IRF helps you do it.”

ArmeoBoom home usageArmeo®Power – The Armeo®Power (shown right) is an upper body robot that helps patients regain the use of their arms. Dr. Chin says the machine focuses on repetition to increase strength and improve mobility of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Like the Lokomat Pro®, it uses video games to encourage patients and give them instant feedback.

“Our Armeo®Power is named Rosie Chern,” says Dr. Chin. “’Rosie’ after Rosie the Riveter (an American icon during World War II representing women who worked in factories), and Chern, the Chinese word for being successful.”

Former patient Lana Million experienced the machine’s success after suffering from a debilitating stroke in July 2014 that caused her entire left side to become numb. After spending two weeks recovering at St. Rose Dominican’s Siena Campus, Lana was transferred to the Rose de Lima IRF to rehabilitate using the Armeo®Power. “My fingers and arm would move, but I couldn’t control them,” Lana says. “The Armeo helped me learn how to squeeze things, and it gave me the whole range of movement back in my arm. I can’t imagine having better therapy.”

“Our emergency rooms save lives,” says Teressa Conley, President/CEO of the Rose de Lima Campus, “but life-saving
technology is just part of the picture. After trauma, accident, or stroke, it is only through rehabilitative services that patients really get their lives back. Regaining the ability to do something as simple as combing your hair or brushing your teeth or something incredibly difficult, such as learning to walk and be independent again, is truly life-saving.”

In the past, residents had to travel out of state for care beyond traditional therapy. Now that Rose de Lima has the Hocoma® technology, residents can recover in their own community.

The robotic technology offered at the IRF now allows patients to have the best of both worlds: the most current technology
and the support of friends and family. For Josh, staying close to home was important because it allowed him to visit with his two small children every other day. “If I was out of state, that wouldn’t have been an option,” Josh says. “It was hard not being able to hold my kids when they were sitting right next to me, but having them visit was motivation. It kept me pushing, and it kept me moving forward. I did it for them.”

At a recent unveiling of the new equipment, Conley agreed. “We are proud to be the leader in rehabilitative services for our region,” she says. “Residents of southern Nevada should not need to leave the community to get the best medical care available.” To learn more, visit StRoseHospitals.org/IRF.

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