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Saturday, 31 December 2005 13:44
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Walking aid for stroke victims
A new walking frame, which could make it easier for people to learn to walk again following a stroke, is being designed by UK researchers.

Many stroke patients cannot use the existing frames which require the patient to hold them and lift them as they move.

The new frame supports people from behind and is “hands free”, making it much easier to use for people who have lost the full use of their arms.

The frame was initially developed by Professor John Patrick’s team at the Orthotic Research and Locomotor Assessment Unit, at Oswestry Hospital, for patients with cerebral palsy.

It has a harness to support the patient’s torso and wheels at its rear.

The frame was adapted for stroke victims by Dr Gillian Pearce, whose family experience of stroke prompted her to try to improve the walking aids available.

Dr Pearce, who is also a senior lecturer in clinical physiology and anatomy at Wolverhampton University, said: "This is a really important project that will help many victims of debilitating illnesses to regain their independence and improve their quality of life.

"So far, it has been confined to use in the hospital because it is quite large and bulky."

But she added: "We believe the frame could be used in the home, and could be something people could take with them in the care, if we can make it easier to assemble and take apart."

Andrea Lane, a spokeswoman for the Stroke Association, said: "Regaining independence is a very important step in the recovery of stroke and a number of stroke survivors will benefit from this equipment.

"However, disability as a result of a stroke manifests itself in many ways and we need more initiatives like this to help all stroke survivors make a good recovery."


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