Hospital foundation puts ‘Hope in Motion’

New campaign will raise funds for equipment to help stroke, spinal cord injury, amputation and various other diagnoses regain mobility

VISALIA – While the nation celebrated Independence Day, one local nonprofit rolled out a campaign to help those who have lost their ability to walk regain their own independence.

On July 4, the Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation announced its “Hope in Motion” campaign to purchase the SafeGait 360 Balance and Mobility Training, a track-and-harness system that assists with balance and fall prevention for patients who are learning to stand or walk again after a stroke, a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amputation, and other neurological or neurodegenerative diagnoses. It would be used at Kaweah Delta’s Rehabilitation Hospital where physical therapists can increase patients’ confidence and reduce their fears of falling. This system’s software tracks patients’ movements, so physical therapists can make adjustments quickly and safely, while letting patients learn to negotiate stairs, transfers and floor exercises.

Walking and standing are two of things many people take for granted and the road is long and hard to recovery when something like a stroke takes away those abilities from people. That’s what happened to David Fleming, a talented graphic designer in our community, who suffered a stroke and was rushed to the Emergency Department. Since then, he’s worked hard to gain his life back.

“There were days when I just wanted to crawl up back in bed. I just wanted to lay back and not do anything, and you just have to force yourself to get up and get to work,” said Fleming, a patient at the Rehabilitation Hospital.

David pushed himself every day to get back to who he was before the stroke– an effort that didn’t go unnoticed.

“It’s exciting when everyone sees me and sees my progress, and when I hear the therapists talk about my case. It’s just great,” Fleming said.

In part, he credits his progress to the therapists at the Rehabilitation Hospital who have helped him every step of the way.

“These people know what they’re doing, which I had total faith in to begin with, but I just gained more faith in myself that I could do this.”

The role of helping patients, like David, get back to enjoying their lives to the fullest is the therapists’ priority, but having the resources to facilitate the process is invaluable. Learning to walk again can be challenging, both for patient and physical therapist. When a stroke, amputation or accident mean we have to re-learn those activities, Kaweah Delta staff can put hope in motion.

“The Hope in Motion campaign will allow us to take our therapy, specifically our stroke rehab as we are a stroke specialty center, to the next level. The SafeGait 360, will also benefit a lot of other diagnoses such as amputation, people recovering from debilitation, multi-trauma accidents and any other type of neurological disease,” said Tara Norman, Therapy Supervisor at the Rehabilitation Hospital.”

Physical therapists, too, can benefit from this equipment, as they are less likely to be hurt catching a fall, which gives them the opportunity to expand their intervention strategies. They won’t have to be on guard for falls, the most likely time for work-related injury to occur, which will also mean fewer staff are needed to work with one person, opening up for other patients. Data provided by the system will also be available to help physical therapists evaluate their treatment plans.

The Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation was created in 1979 to help Kaweah Delta Health Care District achieve excellence in patient care through fundraising from the hospital family and the community. The nonprofit 501(c) (3) Foundation, with its elected board of directors, has raises funds in support of Kaweah Delta through personal solicitation, grants, special events, direct mail, and social media appeals as well as through future, planned gifts such as bequests.

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