UPMC St. Margaret using technology to help stroke victims
A grant from the St. Margaret Foundation has put a quicker recovery for stroke victims within arm's reach.
Foundation President Mary Lee Gannon said the group donated $60,638 to purchase an occupational therapy rehabilitation robot for UPMC St. Margaret Hospital.
“This takes therapy to the next level,” said Ann Marsico, facility director at the hospital. “This will take the therapist out of the equation and show what the patient is really capable of doing.”
The Armeo robot provides task-oriented rehab for stroke patients and those with neuro impairment. Patients with limited arm use complete simulated tasks and play computer exercise games while the robot partially compensates for strength.
It reminds the brain how to control arm function, Marsico said.
“Without this, sometimes the lines would get blurred with what the therapist was doing and what the patient was doing,” she said. “This context encourages increased participation both emotionally and physically and promotes rapid gains.”
Patient Katherine Vidakovich is eager to give it a try. Her doctor explained the benefits of using the technology, she said.
“They can zero in on what activities will help each person,” Vidakovich said.
The robot was highlighted during an open house last week that also showcased the hospital's expansion of its Rehabilitation Institute.
Space nearly doubled, from 14 to 26 beds, to accommodate a growing need, said Judy Tinelli, rehab nurse clinician.
“Forty percent of our patients are in stroke recovery and we didn't have enough beds to serve them,” she said.
Nine new jobs have been created to staff the expanded fourth-floor unit, with the potential to add five more positions by January.
“With 14 beds, we were turning a lot of people away who wanted to stay here for their rehab,” Tinelli said.
Increased room and the addition of technology enables the hospital to offer the same level of care that patients would get at other UPMC campuses, Marsico said.
The addition of robotics and video games — patients use a Nintendo Wii to improve balance, coordination and endurance — are becoming common but valuable tools in rehab, said Chuck Finder, communications specialist for the rehab unit.
A unit like Armeo, developed by Swiss-based medical technology company Hocoma, allows for precise and measured repetition that can be adjusted for individualized care, he said.
“Sometimes it's hard to motivate and engage patients,” Marsico said. “With this, they're working hard but it distracts them with simulated games.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Santa scheduled to visit Blawnox to light up holiday season
- St. Margaret Foudation Aspinwall Catholic students team up to bring holiday spirit to hospital patients
- Students work with Fox Chapel Area artist-in-residence to create permanent piece
- Store owner’s mother excited to help as holidays draw near
- Budget proposal keeps Fox Chapel tax rate steady