Kaweah Health first to use SafeGait 360 in California

Kaweah Health patients recovering from debilitating illnesses now have access to the only Safegait 360 in California, allowing patients and physical therapist to feel more confident about their recovery process

VISALIA – Kaweah Health used resources to bring in a new state of the art balance and mobility trainer where patients can feel more comfortable in their recovery process.

The SafeGait 360 Balance and Mobility Trainer is a device made to help those learning to walk again after injury. The 100-foot track, body-weight support system was installed at the Kaweah Health Rehabilitation Hospital, the longest track for the system in the nation.

“The machine presents [the patients] a very safe space to be able to try and push themselves a little bit more, whether it’s functionally mobility or balance wise, without fear of falling,” Tara Norman, therapy supervisor with Kaweah Health, said.

The SafeGait 360 is a ceiling-mounted, overhead tracking bodyweight support and fall protection system. The patient utilizing the machine is hooked up to the overhead tracking system, which lowers the patient’s body weight up to 50%. It helps patients who need physical assistance regardless if they are recovering from a stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis or other neurological diagnoses.

With this device, Norman said Kaweah Health is testing the limits of advanced technology when it comes to the rehabilitation of their patients.

“Our therapists have extremely good manual therapy skills,” Norman said. “What this does is allow us to take our skilled therapists and use the most advanced technology to give our patients the best opportunity for recovery.”

The SafeGait 360 was purchased through a fundraising campaign with Kaweah Health Foundation called the “Hope in Motion” campaign. With support from the Kaweah Health Foundation director Liz Wynn and other Kaweah staff members, who have the option to donate funds from their paycheck to support any Kaweah projects, Kaweah Health was able to purchase the SafeGait 360 within six to eight months. 

The device itself, including the track and installation of the system, totaled to approximately $250,000. According to Norman, all together, with the process of fulfilling state requirements for the equipment installation and working with architects to ensure the system worked properly, the costs totaled to approximately $350,000 to $400,000.

Norman said she first noticed the system at a physical therapy convention she attended seven years ago. It was a new type of technology that she felt would benefit a lot of the Kaweah Health patient population, especially since there wasn’t a similar device to utilize locally. After she brought it to the attention of her manager with Kaweah Health, they began to discover ways to fund the project.

Physical therapists with Kaweah Health also benefit from the SafeGait 360 because it assures therapists that their patients will be safe when they are utilizing the system. This means fewer staff members will need to work with a single patient at a time and can work at assisting other patients. Staff also won’t have to worry about the likelihood of a patient falling and getting injured when using the device.

DIH Technology Inc, a global solution provider of robotic rehabilitation devices for physical and occupational therapy including SafeGait 360, is proud to recognize Kaweah Health as a DIH Technology vanguard center. Chad Woodmancy, sales director at DIH Technology, said Kaweah Health embodies patient care and dedication. From the company’s meetings with teams from Kaweah Health, Woodmancy said staff with DIH Technology understood and shared Kaweah’s motivation to overcome any technical challenges to get the SafeGait 360 into the rehabilitation center.

“We are thrilled to be a partner of Kaweah Health in their mission to provide the best outcomes possible to their patients, thanks to innovative robotic rehabilitation,” Woodmancy said.

Start typing and press Enter to search