Good Shepherd is First in Nation to be Trained in Ekso Bionic Exoskeleton Upgrade
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network (GSRN) recently became the first rehabilitation facility in the nation to be trained in the upgraded version of Ekso, a bionic battery-powered exoskeleton that allows patients with lower limb paralysis to stand up and walk.
The newest Ekso has three walking modes that provide progressive rehabilitation options, giving patients the ability to gradually control the suit and gain greater independence. With the upgraded Ekso, the patient can gradually progress to ProStep™, a mode in which he or she controls the steps by body positioning. The device now also allows for a smoother gait.
Jason Angstadt of Fleetwood, who began using the Ekso in May, has progressed to the ProStep level with the upgraded version.
“Now I feel more in control,” says Jason. “The gait feels more natural. I am able to think less about the steps. I just shift my weight and it goes.”
Angstadt says that since he started using Ekso he has experienced less pain and fewer leg spasms. He also says it is also helping him further develop his strength, allowing him to more easily move with leg braces and a walker. He became paralyzed two years ago as a result of a farming accident.
In March 2012, Good Shepherd became the third rehabilitation center in the country to receive Ekso. Susan Golden, director, Neurorehabilitation, GSRN, says Ekso has been providing a variety of benefits to patients with spinal cord injuries. “Most of all, Ekso gives them renewed energy and hope for the future,” she says.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized rehabilitation leader, offering a continuum of care for people with physical and cognitive disabilities and specializing in assistive and rehabilitation technology. More than 62,000 people come to Good Shepherd each year for specialized programs in stroke, orthopedics, brain injury, spinal cord injury, pediatrics, amputation and more. Good Shepherd provides rehabilitation services in 8 eastern Pennsylvania counties. Good Shepherd operates 21 outpatient sites, 4 inpatient sites, a long-term acute care hospital, 2 long-term care homes for people with severe disabilities, an independent living facility and a lifestyle products online store called Rehability. Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, began operations in July 2008 and provides post-acute care in the Philadelphia region. Good Shepherd was founded in 1908 when The Rev. John and Estella Raker invited a disabled orphan named Viola into their Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Good Shepherd is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. For more information, visit www.GoodShepherdRehab.org.