Finding Solutions for Pediatric Physiotherapy
Canada is one of the most beautiful and advanced countries in the world. It has a stereotype reputation of perfection around the world. However it, like many other governments has to watch it’s financial pocketbook. Probably that’s why the province of Ontario has a quirky rule that children with spinal cord injuries aren’t entitled to certain medical treatments.
One such case is that of Ben Wood who spends hours each week retraining his legs, hoping to be able to take a few more steps. His family worries about where the money will come to pay for this intensive physiotherapy.
Since ben is only 17 Ontario does not cover this type of physiotherapy because he is under the age of 18, as the ”Star’s” Barbara Turnbull reported on July 30, 2012.
Apparently even Ontario’s health minister can’t explain why the province pays for out-patient rehab services for adults that have spinal cord injuries but not for children.
Intensive therapy for young people with incomplete spinal cord injuries – like Wood – have the best potential for improvement of their condition through intensive therapy simply because their brains are capable of forming new neural pathways. Young people can gain the most from potential mobility increases. There is a difference between being wheelchair bound or being able to stand and take a few steps. It can mean being independent, having more job opportunities and achieving a better future.
In some cases the results of specialized neurological intensive therapy have been very dramatic. Nick Schoenhoff had a spinal cord injury in a snowboard accident when he was just 13. He went home from the rehab hospital in a wheelchair and was told that there was nothing else to be done. However, after years of intensive physiotherapy which was funded privately and through community donations, Schoenhoff became a university student who only uses a wheelchair for long distances. He uses a cane the rest of the time.
His family actually started a fund called ”Support in Motion”, to help provide similar therapy for other Ontario teens like Wood. It’s wonderful that this family is doing this to help others, but shouldn’t the province be providing these services?
The health minister, Deb Matthews, said that she’s looking into how to incorporate these services.
One of the solutions to providing physical therapy for spinal cord injuries that is most cost effective and is available for children as young as 5 is the TUTOR system. Consisting of the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR these physical therapy products were created to accommodate the need for intensive exercises suffered by patients that experienced not only spinal cord injuries but also brain injuries, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, CP, MS and other kinds of upper and lower limb disabilities.
The TUTOR system consists of wearable ergonomically designed devices together with powerful dedicated rehabilitation software. It consists of motivating and challengoing games that allow the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises. The dedicated software allows the physical therapist to fully customize the exercises to the patient’s movement ability. In addition the therapist can objectively and quantitatively evaluate and report on the treatment progres. The TUTOR system optimizes the patient’s motor, sensory and cognitive performance and allows the patient to better perform everyday functional tasks to improve their quality of life.