The future of the rehabilitation for people with walking paralyses has begun with the exoskeleton. At REHAB, manufacturers will present their innovative, electronically controlled body support devices.
People who lost some or all of their ability to walk after an accident, stroke, through a tumour or a spinal column illness, can train independent walking and standing using modern rehabilitation robotics. The system is based on an electronically controlled movement support provided by an externally clad “skeleton”. The central elements are padded orthoses made of metal and computer-controlled electronic motors which are attached with straps and Velcro. Even where a complete cure is impossible: this kind of training promotes blood circulation and digestion, counters osteoporosis and demonstrates positive effects on the psyche.
The requirements for the use of mobility auxiliaries for disabled and ill people vary. Stationary locomotion robots with treadmill are used in the early therapy of spinal cord injuries if any neurological residual functions remain. And exoskeletons, which are controlled by the patient’s nerve impulses, require a minimal residual function in hip and knee. Some models provide free movement in space, as long as the patient can support himself/herself with arms and the spine remains stable, as additional necessary walking aids must be used. Other exoskeletons completely compensate for the disability of the lower limbs and enable unrestricted use of arms and hands.
Communication aids for people with disabilities
Communication aids for disabled people help to facilitate direct communication and make reading, writing, arithmetic and drawing easier. Visitors of REHAB can explore a wide range of modern aids and test them on site.
As multi-faceted as functional restrictions may be, the communication aids for disabled people are equally diverse, simplifying or enabling active and passive communication. For people with restricted vision, hearing-impaired and deaf people, physically disabled people or those without vocal folds: They can all profit from individualised or specially developed devices which compensate for their respective disabilities as much as possible.
The communication aids for people with a visual impairment include
magnifying glasses and video magnifiers
reading materials with speech output
keyboards with large keys or point markings for the blind
aids for the blind, such as Braille lines
writing instruments, such as a Perkins Brailler
Daily Living Aids for hearing-impaired and deaf people include
hearing aids and instruments with implants
telephones with amplified receivers
telecommunication devices which transmit and receive written characters instead of spoken sound
light signal systems
Depending on the functional restriction of speech-impaired people, static communication devices may enable the initiation and execution of proper communication, as do voice and sound generators and voice amplifiers. For people with motor disabilities, available features include large keyboards or single-hand keyboards, page turners and reading stands, as well as computers equipped with speech or eye control.
Walking aids for people with mobility restrictions
For people with walking disabilities, walking aids provide lots of mobility. The exhibitors at REHAB present different kinds and models, ranging from walking canes to walking frames with electric drives and pushing aids for wheelchairs.
More safety, self-reliance and life quality: These are the advantages of walking frames or aids for ill or older people with restricted walking abilities. Walking aids support active movement, make participation in social life easier and train muscles, heart and the overall cardiovascular system.
Walking frames offer safety and are perfectly suitable for practicing independent walking and standing. A walking cane or stick provides stability while moving, for example in case of joint pain or after a foot operation. In case of more serious restrictions, rests for the lower arms may help.
The walking frames or wheeled walker evens out insecurities while walking and offers more safety during every-day life. There are walking frames suitable for the apartment and those suitable for outdoor use. Many are equipped with a seat for the user to take brief rests. The perfect walking frames for shopping are stable, light walking frames with a shopping bag. Lightweight walking frames can be simply pushed and lifted. In many cases, walking frames can also be folded. One highlight at REHAB are innovative walking frames with an electric drive which provide relief for inclines and longer distances and score points through an aid for rising up. Pushing aids for wheelchairs also have an electric drive and serve to make pushing, stopping and braking wheelchairs easier for caretakers.
Orthopaedic aids for disabled people
The auxiliary tools for people with disabilities also include orthopaedic aids. They can create relief, replace body parts, prevent a disability and compensate for functional restrictions.
Orthopaedic aids for disabled or ill people can support therapy efforts and make every-day life easier. They should be selected in close cooperation between doctors, physical therapists and orthopaedists, individually customised or tailor-made.
The spectrum of orthopaedic aids ranges from eating and drinking aids, to gripping aids, bandages, orthoses and prostheses as well as orthopaedic shoes. Walking frames and wheelchairs also constitute such aids. Bandages are well-suited for the purposes of prevention and for therapies for illnesses of the locomotor system. For example, they can fixate joints which will nonetheless remain flexible. Orthopaedic inlays for shoes can support and pad feet, correct misalignments and improve physical posture.
Orthoses are used to stabilise or correct the trunk of the body or the limbs. They include bandages with rigid parts, rails and camisoles. Prostheses replace missing body parts on the body (exoprostheses) or in the body (endoprostheses). In ideal situations, prostheses can partially or fully compensate for the functional restriction. Women who have had a mastectomy after breast cancer can be furnished with an epithesis made from silicone which is perfectly modulated for the body. Specialist exhibitors from the industry will present their newest products at REHAB.
Wheelchairs for increased mobility and increased quality of life
Wheelchairs for disabled people are available in many variants. When customised to individual requirements and needs, wheelchairs can provide people with walking difficulties with more mobility and a higher quality of life.
Depending on the personal requirements, different types of wheelchairs are available. For temporary use of a wheelchair, for example after an operation, generally a standard wheelchair with very few adjustment options will suffice. Extremely light standard wheelchairs are referred to as light-weight wheelchairs. In patient care, nursing wheelchairs or multi-functional wheelchairs are used increasingly as they have adjustable elements but are rather heavy.
Active wheelchairs or adaptive wheelchairs have many adjustment options and offer the driver the highest degree of mobility. This kind of wheelchair is intended for permanent use. Light and agile sports wheelchairs are also considered active wheelchairs which exist with rigid frames and as foldable versions.
Electronically operated wheelchairs are perfect for people with very little strength or functionally restricted arms who can still move about effortlessly in such wheelchairs. Standing wheelchairs with electronic motors enable people to stand upright which has many positive health effects. Heavy-load wheelchairs are intended for people with a significant personal body weight and are characterised by a high degree of stability and reliable brakes. At REHAB, visitors can find additional information about various types of wheelchairs and can even take them for a ride on a test track.
Transfer and lifting aids for people with disabilities
Disabled people can profit from many practical lifting and transfer aids. At REHAB, several specialised companies will introduce various aids intended to facilitate every-day life for people with a handicap and their caretakers.
People with a walking disability and wheelchair users, bed-ridden patients or even carers appreciate the value of practical transfer and lifting aids. They make the transfer between bed, wheelchair and bathroom or car much easier. In many cases, physical care and hygiene is only possible because of such aids which can also expand the experience and action radius of physically disabled people. Primarily, they provide relief for relatives, carers and custodians who will be able to save a lot of strength when lifting, turning, transferring, raising or supporting disabled people or those in need of care and can work more ergonomically.
In addition to manual transfer and lifting aids, some motor-operated models exist as well. Those include patient lifting pillows and lifting mats which are inflated at the push of a button. Electronic moving aids can make getting up, raising the body and position changes easier if the patient is able to use the legs and has a stable trunk.