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Rehab technology

Futuristic system will help war vets and civilians

EDMONTON – The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital announced it is acquiring a $1.75 million computer-assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN) system, thanks to a $1.5 million donation from the Department of National Defence. The new system, only the second in Canada, will be used to provide advanced rehabilitation services to injured Canadian Forces personnel and other patients.

“The system challenges patients to hone their balance and movement. The platform can respond to a patient’s body position while they walk through scenes they view on the screen surrounding them,” says Jim Raso, manager of research and technology development at the Glenrose.

“Doctors and therapists can adjust patient programs based on assessments made through CAREN, which is used by top military hospitals in the world for its advanced approach to rehabilitation.”

Edmonton’s CAREN system complements a similar one being developed at the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre with Canadian military personnel. “The technology will engage our patients at a whole new level and boost their progress through the rehabilitation journey,” says Isabel Henderson, vice-president of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

In both Edmonton and Ottawa, CAREN will also be used by a variety of adults and children: amputees; stroke patients who have lost motor skills; cerebral palsy patients with gait abnormalities; and patients with spinal cord injuries. It can also be used for post-traumatic stress disorder therapy and with seniors with impaired cognition and memory.

“These innovations will go beyond the walls of this hospital and enable us to reach out into parts of the community and the province,” Raso says.

“Today’s announcement is yet another example of how we are taking the steps necessary to care for our people,” Maj-Gen Walter Semianiw, the Canadian Forces Chief of Military Personnel, said at the funding announcement. “It also demonstrates the value of strengthening partnerships between military and civilian medical communities.”

Another $250,000 – an Innovation Agency project grant under Alberta Advanced Education and Technology – will support businesses developing rehabilitation products and systems using CAREN.

The Courage Centre initiative is a Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation project.

The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital is the largest, free-standing rehabilitation hospital in Canada and among the most comprehensive in North America. It serves people of all ages with various physical, cognitive and mental health impairments.

Posted April 22, 2010

 

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