SafeGait Giving Patients the Confidence to Walk Again

Oct 7

SafeGait Giving Patients the Confidence to Walk Again

Three days from retirement, pediatric nurse Susann Brauch suddenly felt tingling sensations in her hands and feet. These sensations traveled throughout her body and within days, left her unable to walk. She was admitted to Unity Hospital for a two week acute care stay and diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Guillain-Barre is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body. Susann’s condition deteriorated significantly and she was unable to even turn herself over in bed at one point during her hospital stay.

With treatment, Susann’s symptoms plateaued and she was able to begin her road to recovery with rehabilitation therapy at MCH. Slowly but steadily, Susann began regaining strength and some feeling in her extremities. In the beginning, it took three therapists to get Susann to stand. Several weeks into her stay, her physical therapist Kristen began encouraging her to use SafeGait so she could begin the process of relearning to walk.

“It was frightening at first; the fear of falling is tremendous,” said Susann. SafeGait is a 360◦ degree balance and mobility trainer designed to help patients relearn to walk after a stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amputation, and other neurological or neurodegenerative diagnoses. It is a dynamic body weight support system with a ceiling mounted track that uses a body harness to safely hold a patient upright.

When Susann began using SafeGait, 40% of her body weight was alleviated by the machine. “Even though it is a machine, it is still work. I’ve never worked so hard or been more fit in my life!” commented Susann. With sheer determination and a smile on her face, Susann was eventually walking loops around the track and doing stairs with only 20% of her body weight supported by SafeGait.

Susann has come a long way in her recovery but still has goals and milestones to reach. She is looking forward to standing on her own and taking steps. Her therapists are confident that this will come in time. Approximately 80% of adults with Guillain-Barre can walk independently within 6 months of their diagnoses. Susann is also looking forward to returning home to her family and spending time with her grandkids who have kept her motivated to work through her illness.

Susann’s illness and physical setbacks haven’t gotten the best of her. She’s continuously faced each challenge with a smile on her face and a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. “SafeGait has been such an important part of my recovery. By taking off your body weight, SafeGait gives you the confidence you need to get back on your feet again,” said Susann. She also credits the therapy staff for knowing when to give her a push. “The staff was great; they knew exactly when I was ready to begin using SafeGait. They didn’t push too much too soon.”

Susann is looking forward to returning home at the end of summer.


© 2015 Monroe Community Hospital

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SafeGait is designed, developed and manufactured by Gorbel Medical (a division of Gorbel Inc.). Designed in collaboration with experts in PT and OT, SafeGait is Gorbel Medical’s patented technology that injects innovation into traditional gait and balance therapy. SafeGait’s Integrated Rail System and G-Force® technologies are based on almost 40 years of Gorbel’s patented technologies and innovations in designing, building and installing cranes, custom rails and safety solutions. Gorbel is a global leader in the industrial space and serves a wide range of industries.

©2017 Gorbel Inc.