Do you work with patients who experience balance issues because of by Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or stroke? As a firm believer of exercise as medicine – especially when dealing with acute and chronic disease – I am often challenged to create a better life for my clients with limited resources. Changes in insurance policies reduce reimbursement and limit client visits, leading us to make difficult decisions regarding the best treatment plans. The ICARE system from the Madonna Institute and SportsArt is one such alternative for treatment.
The story of Alex McKiernan of Martell, Nebraska, is what really inspired me to look into the ICARE. After a serious car accident, Alex suffered a partial spinal cord injury that rendered him unable to walk. Through a series of interventions from the Madonna Institute, Alex finally started using the ICARE; eventually, he was able to return to work at his family business and spend quality active time with his wife and three children. His determination to get his life back and the smile on his face as he talked about starting to exercise again really hit home with me. It was then that the wheels in my head began spinning thinking of how this unit could help so many people.
The ICARE primarily consists of a variable stride elliptical that mimics natural gait movement and allows therapists to treat their patients efficiently. A single therapist can treat a patient regardless of their current mobility issues thanks to the ICARE’s wheelchair ramp, unweighting system, and various levels of movement assistance.
This allows patients of all levels of recovery and different conditions to receive the cardiovascular benefits from exercise needed to control chronic issues. In some cases, it can even help individuals learn to walk again. As someone who has recovered from a major car accident myself, this kind of treatment is revolutionary for generating positive outcomes.
In researching the ICARE, I discovered that Dr. Judy Burnfield, its creator, studied a number of elliptical machines to determine which one mimicked natural walking gait the closest before deciding on one from SportsArt. This is a powerful testament to how we can help patients with Parkinson’s, stroke, and many other acute and chronic conditions better their cardiovascular health. The knowledge of what my work can do for others makes me proud to be part of the team delivering this means of rehabilitation to facilities all across the nation.
To learn more about the ICARE, visit https://icare.gosportsart.com.