ELDERLY CARE │ HOME CARE FOR THE ELDERLY
Our walking pattern can change for a number of reasons. As we age walking may become slower and less confident. If we fall, have surgery (eg hip replacement) or suffer a neurological condition (eg stroke) it is highly likely that walking will be affected. The focus of physiotherapy is therefore often centred around improving mobility and independence.
The first line of action is to identify physical impairments that are interfering with the natural walking pattern. This is done through detailed evaluation which specifically assesses key components required for walking such as:
- Range of motion
- Muscle tone
- Balance control
- Postural awareness
This systematic analysis will identify areas of impairment following which the most appropriate treatment approach is discussed with you.
Specific measurements are taken to provide a baseline of your ability e.g. walking speed, strength testing and efficiency of balance. Reassessment during the rehabilitation program will give further guidance regarding your progress.
A splint or a walking aid may also be suggested to make walking easier and more efficient. Where possible the physiotherapist will assess and provide an appropriate aid or she may decide onward referral is needed where a splint needs to be specifically made for you.
There are a number of devices available to help walking from frames and sticks to assistive devices which can help with stride and speed of walking. These can range from simple knee and ankle supports, foot drop splints to more sophisticated devices such as the bioness system (see below). All of which can be trialled and provided at our clinic. Assessment with a device will give clear indication which is most suited to you.
The Bioness Foot-drop System. www.bioness.com
One very sophisticated system and new to Ireland is The Ness L300 foot-drop system. This is a revolutionary medical device that can help improve walking pattern by lifting the foot allowing you to walk easily indoors, outdoors and on the stairs. Using advanced technology this is a wireless system that senses when your foot is on or off the ground. The device sends electrical impulses to the specific leg muscles, which helps to lift the foot and allows you to walk more easily. It’s a comfortable device that can be worn under most clothing. It can help people who suffer with a neurological condition ( eg Stroke, Brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis ) where they have difficulty walking due to weakness or stiffness in the leg muscles. The L300 foot-drop system is programmed by our clinicians to stimulate the appropriate muscles and nerves in the leg to provide a more natural walk.
You can be assessed for suitability for this advice by one of our clinicians who have been specially trained it its use.
Please feel free to call 01 8829174 if you would like further information or to get advice on the above.