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New Device Helps Patients Improve Balance

November 15, 2009

For older adults, falls are one of the greatest causes of serious health problems. Fortunately for the growing population of seniors in down east Maine, Mount Desert Island Hospital’s Physical Therapy department has acquired new technology to help increase mobility and confidence for a more independent, active lifestyle.

The Hospital’s new Biodex Balance System has been designed to improve balance, increase agility, and develop muscle tone.
“With the Biodex Balance System, we can now quickly and accurately identify and address the issues that lead to falls among older adults, including weak muscles and unstable balance,” said Chip Dugans, PT, Director of the Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department. “It is an excellent tool in the growing field of fall prevention.”
After an initial evaluation, patients stand on a platform that can be programmed to provide varying degrees of stability. As the patient stands on one or two legs, depending on the test, the Bio Dex provides real-time feedback on balance, strength, and fall risk. “The immediate feedback prompts patients into proper posture and balance control,” said Dugans. “It has an interactive game-like interface that increases patient interaction and compliance,” added Dugans.
The System can also be used for athletes to assess overall stability and balance for pre-season baseline or injury pre-disposition, or to help improve balance and strength so they can return to activity after an injury.
Test results are displayed immediately and can be sent to a referring physician or used to develop a plan for physical therapy.
“The Biodex system gives us a quick, easy and accurate way to assess patients. Test results are reviewed to help identify fall candidates and athletes who are predisposed to knee injury,” explained Dugans. “We can then develop an exercise program to improve strength, balance, walking speed, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.”
“Our patients appreciate the immediate feedback,” said Dugans. “And we like having a way to accurately and rapidly identify the issues that need work.”
 For more information or to schedule an appointment with MDI Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department, call 288-5081.

Posted in 2009