Large strides for little feet with the help of the Parkview Foundation

Gait Trainer

For most, losing the ability to walk is an experience they cannot fathom. For a child, it’s unthinkable. The change – whether a result of an injury or illness – can occur in an instant. Parkview Health has always been dedicated to making the impossible a reality for patients, and with the G-EO System Evolution®, Reha Technology’s robot-assisted gait training machine, being able to walk again is possible.

When the Rehabilitation Center at Parkview Hospital Randallia (PHR), welcomed the G-EO in 2017, it was all thanks to the outstanding support provided by generous donors through the Parkview Foundation.

Patients are placed into the G-EO’s harness which helps remove the weight from their legs, and while standing, the machine puts their legs through the motion of walking. This action helps the muscles become stronger while simultaneously reintroducing motor skills to the nervous system.

The benefits of the G-EO have been outstanding for Parkview patients. Yet, there was still a certain population that was not able to utilize this miraculous machine: pediatric patients and smaller adults.

Once again, through the generosity of the Parkview Foundation donors, pediatric accessories have now been purchased for the G-EO machine. The new equipment includes smaller foot plates and a smaller harness, more suited to the circumference and frame of a child’s body. This also benefits smaller adults who, previously, might not have safely fit into the adult harness.

Along with the pediatric accessories, a data module and a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) was also purchased. The new data module allows therapists to easily track data on the effectiveness of the therapy, as well as take a deeper look into data and participate in larger studies.

The FES module provides electrical stimulation to eight muscle groups throughout the gait cycle. Because different muscles are used at different points of walking, the stimulation helps the muscles learn when and how to move while becoming stronger.

Now all patients can utilize the G-EO, no matter their size or level of strength. For those patients who have significant physical weakness, the machine can passively move the legs for the patient until they are strong enough to do it for themselves. For those stronger patients, resistance can be set at customized levels as they walk to build up strength and balance. Utilization of the G-EO on the inpatient side of therapy can lead to quicker recovery time and the ability to return home rather than transitioning to assisted care. 

Nicole Walter, lead outpatient therapist at PHR, describes the equipment as, “a game changer”. Therapists who are utilizing it daily with patients have seen excellent progress with the adult population.

This wonderful success is due to the amount of repetitions that a patient can get using the machine. The number of steps increases neuroplasticity, which ultimately means that the more a certain muscle is used, the better it gets – essentially muscle memory. In normal cases of relearning to walk, a patient would need to be supported by up to four therapists, and they would only get roughly 50-100 steps in. When using the G-EO, only one therapist is needed, and the patients can get anywhere from 1,500-2,000 steps!

It is through the continuous support of the Foundation’s donors that Parkview patients can receive the best possible treatment. And now children can benefit as well from this advanced technology. To learn how you can help provide above-and-beyond healthcare for your community, please visit ParkviewFoundations.org.

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