Summary of Application Hospitals in America are currently understaffed and the ratio of patients to staffing is projected to grow dramatically with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. Costs for skilled nursing and long term facilities are growing at an alarming rate. America cannot keep up with the financial burden stressing the Medicare system. We must do all we can to decrease the pressure on the system and reduce the risk of predicted future failure. One significant problem that injured, ill or post surgical persons encounter in the acute hospital setting, is that frequently they are unable to stand erect to maintain core body and lower body strength. They often are encumbered by intravenous lines, oxygen, catheters, etc. Statistically, within three days, persons with cardiovascular or hemodynamic medical problems are likely to experience the onset of complications such as congestive heart failure, fluid retention and fluid pooling. These complications often result in admissions to intensive care units and having to endure much longer hospitalizations. The logistics required to ambulate one person even fifty feet is difficult to accomplish with the understaffed conditions facing us today. The Gentle Walker provides a safer environment for both the patient and the professional staff. THE GENTLE WALKERThe Gentle Walker directly addresses the problem of strengthening the core and lower body, while reducing the recovery time. Shorter hospitalizations and fewer complications decrease costs and will help reduce the pressure on our medical system. The Gentle Walker is a small walking device that rolls to the bedside. The person can stand on the walking platform from being seated. They simply stand and walk securely, even if they can only place one foot in front of the other. When they are finished, they simply sit down and The Gentle Walker can then be rolled away. With the portability and maneuverability The Gentle Walker provides, this can be preformed from the bedside or from a chair even when space is very limited. MEDICAREThe Gentle Walker is on track to be evaluated by Medicare. It is our contention that, if people are given the opportunity to walk at the bedside, even if all they can do is put one foot in front of the other, many will not develop complications and will be able to recover and return home sooner and stronger, improving their quality of life. By doing this, there will not be as many admissions to skilled nursing and long term facilities due to complications, saving millions of dollars on a national basis. Medicare’s standard to reimburse for physical medicine is documented “measurable progressive exercise”. The Gentle Walker measures time, distance in feet, and speed in tenths of a mile per hour (beginning at one tenth of a mile per hour). This combination of parameters recordable in minute increments gives the clinician a great deal of flexibility and serves to motivate fragile and debilitated persons. HOSPITALSThere are many other applications for The Gentle Walker in acute hospital settings. The ability to measure oxygen while a person is walking is often difficult because of the logistics. Accurate readings are difficult because of the unsteady tremor and gait of the patient. The Gentle Walker provides a much safer environment for the employee and the patient. Physicians will be provided more accurate information and better documentation as to the conditions that the patient was exercised at. This will help physicians track a pulmonary and/or cardiac patient’s status and progression in their disease or illness. ORTHOPEDICS
We are planning a model of The Gentle Walker especially for lower body orthopedic surgery patients that can measure weight bearing. This feature, with the variety of clinical parameters available, will provide exactly how much weight bearing is being done. Adding the dynamics of time, distance, and speed creates an excellent tool to evaluate return to work status for many. SKILLED NURSING, LONG TERM, SUB ACUTE UNITSApplication of The Gentle Walker in the skilled nursing, long term or sub acute unit is to attain and maintain the patient’s highest level of function. The Gentle Walker allows fragile and fearful people to easily exercise in safety. Within the development for the future is a model of The Gentle Walker especially designed for these people. This model adds structural support to allow those who can’t stand to gradually retrain muscles and gain strength to stand and walk. By doing this we will be able to get some of these people home or at least to a less expensive level of care. IN PRIVATE HOMES AND ASSISSTED LIVING SETTINGMany people with chronic back problems, breathing problems, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease can stand and put one foot in front of the other if given the opportunity. Many are sedentary because they feel unsafe and experience a great deal of pain. Having The Gentle Walker at their bedside, giving them five, ten or twenty minutes of slow, comfortable walking will allow them to start moving and ease the chronic pain they feel from laying still through the night. This will vastly improve their sense of well being and quality of life. In many cases it will help to get post back injury patients back to their normal lives and jobs.