Thursday, December 15th, 2016
I am an occupational therapist who works with patients recovering from stroke and traumatic brain injury, and the SaeboMAS (mobile arm support) is a very important asset to me. Patients frequently come to me with limited ability to move their arm and/or shoulder, saying “I can’t do this” or “I can’t move my arm at all.” They often have felt like they have made little to no progress since the time of their injury. Then I set them up with the SaeboMAS to aid in unweighting their arm, and they see, almost immediately, that they can move their arm. This is a huge emotional boost and motivates them to engage in the rehabilitation process. Without the SaeboMAS, my only option would be to help patients myself and this undermines their sense of achievement because they perceive that I am doing the work. With the SaeboMAS, the patient’s arm is essentially made lighter so that he or she can do the work alone.
One patient stands out in my memory. She had suffered an anoxic brain injury and was dependent on others for all aspects of her care. She was very discouraged that she could not feed herself. Our goal, at one point, was simply for her to be able to hold a Cheeto in her hand and get it into her mouth. With the SaeboMAS she was able to accomplish this and finally had the hope of regaining function.
Once patients begin working with the SaeboMAS, their functioning improves even when they are not using it. It allows patients to really get those repetitions done so that they can build back strength and the brain can begin to retrain itself. With the SaeboMAS, I show my patients that they can do the work, and then just watch them progress.