Before “COVID-19” had meaning, many people with paralysis regularly visited outpatient neurorehabilitation programs to maintain their health. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many rehabilitation programs have reduced admittance or shut down completely to prevent coronavirus spread to individuals at increased risk for severe illness or death.
People with paralysis need ongoing physical therapy to manage the secondary conditions of immobility. Muscle spasticity, bone demineralization, skin breakdown, neuropathic pain, and cardiovascular deterioration are just a few examples of conditions managed well by regular physical therapy. Therefore, to mitigate these conditions effectively without access to rehabilitation facilities, people with paralysis need neurorehabilitation services at home.
It is worth noting that people with paralysis living in rural areas without quality rehabilitation services face this same challenge, as do those without adequate insurance or financial resources to cover facility-based rehabilitation costs.
Rehabilitation can be performed as part of a home health care program, but even these programs now see fewer individuals for fear of transmission from one worker to many high-risk households. The Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker presents a detailed analysis of how this pandemic has affected healthcare utilization across sectors, including home health care.
Effective neurorehabilitation for people with paralysis traditionally requires a trained therapist to manually assist and resist the individual, as needed, while they perform controlled movements. Expert therapists can perform most tasks well with their hands and relatively simple equipment. More advanced equipment and technology are useful for tasks that often require multiple therapists (more hands) to perform effectively or efficiently (e.g., gait training, FES).
The same advanced technologies that reduce the burden on therapists can be optimized for cost and usability so that home users and caregivers can independently use them at home without needing a therapist to be physically present. Like the MyoCycle or ReWalk, these devices can be used independently by home users and caregivers, and device manufacturers provide supplemental clinical support remotely (telerehab) and in-person when needed.
In other words, anyone can do neurorehabilitation at home independently if they have access to the right equipment and support.
Consider the MyoCycle. For many people with lower-limb paralysis caused by disorders like spinal cord injury, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, the MyoCycle is the right equipment for their in-home neurorehabilitation. The MyoCycle represents a complete redesign of clinical FES cycling systems to make them more affordable and easier to use independently. MYOLYN helps customers through the purchase process with a wide variety of accessible financial options to best fit each customer’s unique situation. The MyoCycle is easy enough to use that most home users receive, unpack, assemble, and start using it unassisted or with some help from a friend or family member. When customers need extra help, MYOLYN provides technical and clinical support, remotely and in-person, to ensure they receive the maximum benefits from their MyoCycle.
During this pandemic, many people with paralysis have found themselves needing physical therapy but with no access to in-person professional help. Neurorehabilitation during a pandemic is difficult, but people with paralysis can do it themselves at home effectively and efficiently with the right equipment and support.
This pandemic will end, and more people with paralysis will have access to outpatient rehabilitation programs again. Ultimately, a balance between in-home and facility-based neurorehabilitation is needed, and now the scales have tipped away from facilities and towards individuals’ homes. The scales might stay this way for a long time, pressing the immediate need for long-term, in-home neurorehabilitation solutions.
If you or a loved one live with paralysis and in need of in-home neurorehabilitation, request more information about our products and services. We are here to help you find the right solution!