Stroke Therapy Uses Take-Home Treatment

By: Sarah Carlson
By: Sarah Carlson

For years, experts have been looking for ways to make the long road to recovery a little shorter and easier for stroke patients.

Now, the incredible results of a treatment that can actually be taken home.

After Glenn Goodman had a stroke a year ago - he had to re-learn to walk, to swallow - all the basic functions.

" The shoulder and the arm however were really giving him a problem and there was pain up in here " Goodman's wife, Lee Ann said.

His speech is next on the list, but right now Glenn is wrapping up the recovery process for the part that suffered most - his arm.

Traditional therapies stopped working, so he and his wife Lee Ann, who live near Appleton, traveled all the way to Meriter in Madison.

Glenn is one of the first patients to use Bioness. It's a splint-like device worn on the forearm that sends electrical impulses to a muscle - to teach it to work the way it used to.

" Within a matter of a week to two weeks he was doing things that he wasn't able to do before "

Eventually, patients use the Bioness about 3 hours a day. And the amazing part? - they can do it at home.

"It takes some dedication at home, work with it and with exercises and consistency with wearing it," says Mary Ann Roelke, an occupational therapist at Meriter hospital.

The electrical impulses themselves are not new, but the fact that the device holds the treatment in place so precisely allows patients to wear it without having to work for it.

"The idea of getting stimulation in that arm for a long period of time, much longer than we can do twice a week for an hour... is really beneficial," says Roelke.

Just three months after starting to use Bioness, Glenn could drive again - even do carpentry work around the house.

So far, Meriter is the only hospital in Madison that offers the Bioness device for stroke therapy.

We're told some insurance plans will cover it, others won't - but the cost of the actual therapy visits for patients is almost always covered.

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