Brunei Stroke Centre achieves milestone in rehab treatment

National 4 minutes, 21 seconds


BRUNEI’S Neuroscience, Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC) is the first in Southeast Asian countries to have acquired three machines to assist in rehabilitation treatment for acute stroke patients.

With this milestone in rehabilitation, BNSRC Head Professor Datin Seri Laila Jasa Dr Uta Meyding-Lamadé told The Brunei Times this is absolutely exceptional for Brunei.

She said with the help of these machines, secondary complications among patients can be prevented. These complications include patients incurring injuries.

While one machine helps with regaining leg movement, the other two assists patients in hand and arm movements.

“Acute patients will start rehabilitation from day one when they come into the BNSRC. As soon as they get off the monitor, we can bring them to the machines and individually tailor which patient goes to the Lokomat machine or the two Armeo machines,’’ she said.

Vivian Suk Kee Tie, head of the Rehabilitation Department at JPMC said having these machines are supplementary to conventional therapy and did not mean that it would be replaced.

She explained the machines have been acquired to help acute stroke patients regain movement, adding conventional therapy will still take place.

“Ideally, stroke patients will go through 12 sessions of using the machine therapy at least three times a week, along with going through other rehabilitation programmes to show progress in gaining back their movements,’’ she said.

The rehabilitation centre’s head said therapists will still have to stay with the patients while using the machines to assist in therapy.

“The therapists always have to be with the patient throughout the period of the therapy,’’ she said.

Tie added in future, the BNSRC is considering to even take the patients out of the hospital to perform tasks which they have practiced with the machine.

“The patients will then be able to practice the actual thing, and that becomes more meaningful and patients will understand why they were using the machines. So it is not just robotics, but when we go out there and practice real-life situations, patients will become more confident because they have done it on simulation,’’ she said.

Professor Datin Dr Meyding-Lamadé said their goal is for stroke patients to be able to return home to their families as much as possible.

“We are aiming to shorten the stay for in-patients and to expand the outpatient department to facilitate normal family life for the patients,’’ she said.

The Lokomat Pro “Free D”

One of the machines - the Lokomat Pro – is an electrically powered gait training device designed for walking training for patients affected with movement deficient disorders.

Lokomat supports the walking movement, guides the patient’s legs on the basis physiological gait pattern, and offers the option of partial weight support.

She added for the Lokomat Pro, the BNSRC has acquired a “Free D” version, which makes the centre the first in Asia to have.

She explained the Free D version helps in assisting patients to use their pelvis in two different angles.

Tie said the machine has to be driven by a therapist, as each patient will be fitted into the machine individually.

“The patient’s ability will change over time and when that happens, they will then need less support, and then the therapist will have to change the settings of the machine,’’ she said.

The ArmeoPower

The ArmeoPower is the world’s first commercially available rehabilitation exoskeleton that allows early rehabilitation of motor abilities and provides intelligent arm support in a large 3D workspace.

The ArmeoPower has been specifically designed for arm and hand therapy in an early stage of rehabilitation.

The device enables patients with severe movement impairments to perform exercises with a high number of repetitions, which is paramount for motor function.

Occupational Therapist Venessa Liew – who was rehabilitating a patient with minimal movement in his left arm with the assistance of the ArmeoPower machine, explained what the machine does is to prompt the patient’s hand to move.

The ArmeoSpring

The ArmeoSpring is specifically suited for patients who are beginning to regain active movement of the arm and hand.

The ergonomic and adjustable arm support is an exoskeleton with integrated springs. It embraces the whole arm, from shoulder to hand, and counterbalances the weight of the patient’s arm, enhancing any residual function and neuromuscular control and assisting active movement across a large 3D workspace.

Occupational Therapist Rebekah Keasberry said the machines cater to every individual stroke patient.

At the time of the visit, she explained her patient has some movement in her shoulder, fingers and grip.

“What the machine does is to help the patient regain the ability to perform tasks, such as controlling movements in moving about an animated apple into a shopping cart on a computer screen,’’ she said.

The difference between the ArmeoPower and the ArmeoSpring is that for the latter, Keasberry said the patient is able to move the items on the computer animated programme themselves with support, but the ArmeoPower is for patients who are in their early rehabilitation stages.

Both Armeo robotic therapy machines have assessments that occupational therapists use to record patients’ progress and monitor improvements.

The Armeo clinics are run by JPMC’s Occupational Therapists, and the clinics have been running for 10 weeks now.

The Brunei Times