LiteGait takes its place at the vanguard of gait training. The device simultaneously controls weight bearing, posture and balance. While appropriate for a range of physical conditions that affect balance and mobility of the lower extremities, LiteGait is a high-end companion to therapists who work with stroke survivors participating in rehabilitation therapies. The unique harness design permits unilateral and bilateral support of weight bearing load in a graduated way from non-bearing to varying degrees of weight bearing, including full-bearing. This design also allows the physical therapist to assist the individual by manually adjusting legs and pelvis for proper gait patterns.
In addition to its use for stroke, Mobility Research , makers of LiteGait, have developed a suite of products for use by people with spinal cord injuries, amputation, head injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and a host of other conditions that lead to weakness, balance problems and orthopedic issues. The basic LiteGait design permits use of the device with a treadmill or on level ground.
At a cost of thousands of dollars, many of Colorado’s nonprofits that serve people with disabilities cannot afford to buy the product. In metro Denver, few rehabilitation therapies include the use of LiteGait as a result of this scarcity. Rocky Mountain Stroke Center (RMSC), located in Littleton, CO, benefitted recently from the generosity of a grant from Arapahoe County Housing and Community Development Services to purchase the LiteGait with treadmill combination for its clients. The unit arrived just in time to celebrate National Stroke Awareness Month in a big way. The organization has used the month to set up the device, ensure proper training for its physical therapist, and begin signing up clients to add LiteGait training to their physical therapy regimens. Executive Director Dr. Esther Fretz lights up when she speaks about how wonderful it is for her modest-sized metro Denver nonprofit that serves thousands to have the LiteGait on site.
Dr. Fretz and her team have succeeded in making the case for other tools considered part of a new technology regimen for stroke rehabilitation. Last year, for example, RMSC received the Wii Fitness console and programs through grant funds. And, even in a down economy, funding arrived for purchase of speech software that augments a robust selection of speech therapy groups throughout the metro Denver area. Board of Directors President, Pam Pressel, underscores how important it is to stay focused and on top of funding opportunities, especially during these “less than generous” times when donors of every ilk are experiencing their own economic reservations. “Esther is a master at sizing up the situation and matching opportunities.” Pressel adds that Fretz’ focus is also on ‘sustainability,’ the ability to build programs and services with funding and find the ways to incorporate those services for the long haul. Devices such as Wii, the speech software, and now LiteGait ensure that future clients benefit as well.”
The DeYoung Pavilion which opened a year ago at the Evergreen Neuroscience Centers also features LiteGait as part of its therapeutic approaches. In Denver, The Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) offers LiteGait training as well.
RMSC is the only agency in Colorado focused exclusively on providing affordable services for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. RMSC has created a mix of traditional and innovative therapies, including development of the only stroke support group in Colorado, and one of only a handful nationwide, for young stroke survivors, people between the ages of 20 and 50 who have experienced a stroke. RMSC accepts individual and corporate donations and is actively fundraising for its second Riding for Rehab cycling event, scheduled for later this summer.
Kathryn writes and speaks on topics of healthy aging, disabilities, mobility products and caregiving. Contact for inquiries, bookings and to suggest future topics. Select "subscribe" to receive Kathryn's articles on a regular basis.