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The Journal Gazette

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Parkview physical therapists Nicole Walter and Doug Helsom demonstrate how the G-EO Evolution helps patients improve their walking. Parkview says the robotic trainer is one of only seven nationwide and the first in Indiana. 

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette The G-EO Evolution can be adjusted to support a patient's entire weight, just some of it or none at all.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 1:00 am

Technology has patients at Randallia on the move

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Practice makes perfect … or, at least, better than before.

But when patients trying to improve their walking are too tired to keep practicing, robotic technology can carry the load while making muscles move and allowing neuro pathways to form.

Parkview Hospital Randallia staff on Monday demonstrated the G-EO Evolution, a new machine that helps patients relearn to walk as they build strength after serious illness or injury.

The hospital's rehabilitation unit has been strapping patients into the technology for two weeks and is impressed with the results on the 10 to 15 patients who have experienced it so far in sessions lasting from 30 to 60 minutes.

Greg Parrett, rehab therapy manager at Parkview Randallia, said it's the most revolutionary technology he's seen in his 14 years as a physical therapist.

Not only does it help patients, but it allows health care providers to use staff more effectively, Parrett said.

“It can take three to four therapists to walk a patient because (the patient is) so weak,” he said, adding that the G-EO allows staff to work with even very weak patients one-on-one. 

The machine, made by Switzerland-based Reha Technology, holds all, some or none of the patient's weight, depending on the individual. It also moves the patient's legs, if needed, to help the patient's brain form new neuroplasticity pathways to replace ones damaged by injury to the brain or spinal cord or damaged by disease, such as Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis.

The level of assistance provided can easily be adjusted, offering the patient more help as he or she tires. 

The manufacturer won't allow Parkview Health to disclose how much the machine costs because it negotiates various prices with customers, spokeswoman Jessica Miller said.

Although other robotic gait trainers are on the market, the G-EO Evolution is faster and easier to set up, Parrett said.

Parkview is using the machine for patients checked into hospitals rooms and those who come to the Randallia campus on an outpatient basis, with a physician's referral.

So far, the health care provider has one G-EO Evolution, but it could buy another, Parrett said, if patient demand picks up.

Parkview Health said it's the seventh G-EO in use in the U.S., but the manufacturer couldn't be reached for confirmation.

sslater@jg.net