Paula R. Geigle: 2013 PVA Education Foundation Grant Recipient
Experience Unique Exercise Options for Individuals with Spinal-Cord Dysfunction
Paula R. Geigle, PT, PhD
Aquatic therapy and robotic intervention are addressed marginally, if at all, in most entry-level physician, therapist and nursing professional programs. Aquatic intervention and robotic intervention developing rapidly in the past 20 years, offer individuals with SCI/D potential exercise strategies to improve quality of life, cardiovascular fitness, and functional potential. It is important to educate not only people with SCI/D but health care providers about these two vital treatment possibilities.
Kernan Rehabilitation Hospital of University Maryland Rehabilitation Institute (UMRI) is particularly well poised to provide this cutting edge aquatic and robotic conference. Our robotic suite includes the following treatment and educational opportunities: Manus, Lokomat, Rewalk, Anklebot. Our aquatic exercise program spans the spectrum of care from inpatient care to a thriving wellness/fitness program. Kernan’s experience in robotics and aquatic exercise provides a spring board for collegial and community discussion regarding these topics, offering potential exercise options, and brainstorming future endeavors. The inclusion of robotics and aquatic exercise does occur within healthcare settings but facilitation of routine person-directed health, wellness, and function needs to occur as well. This conference bridges facility based healthcare to potential community centered aquatic and robotic exercise activities.
Always important but especially so during healthcare resource reallocation, this conference’s goals are to 1) critically assess robotic and aquatic exercise options to maintain and improve the quality of life, cardiovascular fitness, and function of individuals with SCI/D; 2) facilitate healthcare providers, individuals with SCI/D, and community members to consider incorporation of robotic and aquatic exercise into routine fitness programming.