When we work with someone who has experienced life changing and catastrophic injury, our purpose as case managers is to restore their quality of life and independence as far as practically possible. Finding and acquiring the latest and most appropriate technology is often fundamental to achieving this.
When we introduce innovative technology and equipment into an individual’s rehabilitation, the change can be transformative. But it’s not about creating miracles and unrealistic expectations of what the future will look like. It’s about ongoing functional rehabilitation – which might be for a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or orthopaedic injury – that takes place every single day. And all the benefits to mood, positivity and the sense of optimism this brings.
Breakthrough Case Managers work with our clinical colleagues, from physiotherapists and occupational therapists to psychologists and qualified nurses, to identify every resource out there that will support the best possible outcome for our clients. It’s a Case Manager’s job to explore all the options and then make it happen. Whether it’s a kitchen with adjustable worktops, a practical wet room, or an accessible garden room that allows mood boosting access to nature and time with family.
A good recent example of how this is put into practice is enabling the use of a standing wheelchair which delivered opportunities for a gentleman to re-engage with activities that were impossible following serious injury – the positive outcome of a Breakthrough Case Manager working closely with their client, neuro-physiotherapist and occupational therapist. As a result, a keen gardener is now able to water their hanging basket without assistance as part of their daily rehabilitation programme.
We understand some of the injuries experienced by our clients make seemingly simple tasks monumentally difficult. Our rehabilitation expertise sits behind and in front of every action taken with and on behalf of our clients, we are here to make sure life continues as easily as possible in a world that isn’t set up for disability. Sometimes, a rehabilitation plan might be relatively straightforward, or it might involve cutting edge technology that has only just been made available.
There are some exciting examples of technology that actively assist functionality of movement. And we’ve seen amazing results with inspirational clients who have used their existing physical capabilities, drive and motivation to maximum effect.
A Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike is good example of equipment that can be used as part of a tailored physiotherapy plan, this technology allows people with partial or complete paralysis of the legs to pedal a stationary bicycle. Electrical pulses are transmitted to the leg muscles causing contractions and a pedalling motion.
With training and sustained practice, cycling can be maintained for fairly long periods of time. This type of exercise will help to counteract muscle wastage, stimulating circulation while contributing to the maintenance of skin integrity alongside general vascular health. Not to mention the mental health benefits that come with exercise, succeeding in achieving your goals and reaching your full potential.
We asked one of our inspirational clients, Tom, how technology has helped his rehabilitation. Tom is a soldier in the British Army, he sustained a life changing spinal cord injury in Summer 2020 and is paralysed below the waist. Tom said “the use of technology like the exoskeleton makes what can feel impossible seem within my reach again. The psychological benefits to being up on my feet again are endless. Not to mention the physiological benefits, everything is improved following walking – bowels, blood pressure, strength. It just makes a real difference.”
Exoskeletons come with wide health and rehabilitation benefits for the right individuals. A degree of upper body strength, proficiency and support are needed to use this innovative technology successfully. We recently trialled an Indego Exoskeleton with Tom, this is a lightweight robotic exoskeleton that gives those with a spinal cord injury increased mobility in their own home. Using the Indego, Tom will be able to walk with assistance every single day.
We don’t just look at the options currently on the market for our clients. We also constantly lookout for new technologies and innovations that might be available in the future. For example, research in the field of spinal cord injury is a huge area of interest globally. Recent developments include the use of surgical implants for spinal cord stimulation, and we make sure to keep abreast of every potential breakthrough that could help our clients.
We explore every rehabilitation option for our clients. If a trial is successful, we are here to recommend the right tools and equipment are available for every client; what is in the best interest of our clients and their recovery is fundamental to all that we do at Breakthrough. Our rigorous approach means no stone is left unturned and you can be sure that your Breakthrough Case Manager is focused on understanding every innovation that can enhance your quality of life.
Of course, new technologies are remarkable and exciting, but it is how they are used that maximises rehabilitation and allows individuals to live their life as fully as possible. And this only happens when the right people are involved. That’s why the team at Breakthrough Case Management are committed to remaining person centred.
Every client is important to us, whatever their situation we deliver the same level of service – unique, tailored and bespoke. We embrace technology, but in this increasingly remote world we do still believe the human touch is irreplaceable.