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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Innovation, collaboration lead to state-of-the-art technology

January 22, 2019

ICARE technology spans the globe
The ICARE provides a customizable level of body weight support and motorassistance that enables individuals to practice a walking-like activity while simultaneously working on fitness. The device is being used in rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient clinics, medical fitness and home settings around the world including North and South America, the European Union, Asia and Australia to address the rehabilitation needs of individuals impacted by a wide range of conditions including strokes, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Judith Burnfield, Ph.D., Madonna’s Research Institute director  led the research team with funding provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research and generous donors.

First Hope offers independence
Individuals with severe physical disabilities arising from such conditions as a spinal cord injury or multiple strokes may lack the manual dexterity required to operate a typical hospital Nurse Call/TV Control handset while hospitalized. Madonna researchers and clinicians, through funding provided in part by the Health Resources and Services Administration, developed the First Hope Technology to enable individuals with minimal physical movement to use their residual capacity to control their environment and communicate their needs to clinical staff.

Now with only a sip of air or a toe movement, individuals can adjust their television, lights or window shade and help nurses know their needs before entering the room. This technology is now in use across Madonna’s Lincoln and Omaha campuses. Patients have commented on regaining control and independence.

After experiencing a series of seizures, Jim Farquharson reported he really couldn’t do anything. “First Hope technology gives me my independence. Just knowing it’s there is really pretty important to me." During the past year, Madonna partnered with Curbell to ensure this innovative solution will be available to other leading rehabilitation facilities, hospitals and nursing homes across the country starting in 2019.

Modified cars make kids smile
Reagan Graham can cruise in style thanks to a partnership between Madonna’s Research Institute and Rolling Hills Trading, Inc. The 2-yearold has spina bifida and uses a
wheelchair. In early November, she and two other children with special needs received modified toy cars. “It means a lot to me for her to have this [car],” Reagan’s mother, Jordan Graham, said. “She can have a more normal life rather than being confined to just a few areas.”

Chase Pfeifer, Ph.D., Madonna’s assistant research director led a group of University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering students in uniquely adapting the cars to each child's needs. Modifications included adding push-buttons, harnesses and other supports to assist parents in keeping children safe.

Institute Advancements
Institute team members advanced the rehabilitation sciences and care through generation of 14 peer-reviewed journal articles, one book chapter and 22
national/international presentations, including a trip by Dr. Burnfield to Amsterdam, Netherlands in September to deliver a keynote address on the rehabilitation of walking at the 2018 Nederlandse Vereniging van Podotherapeuten Conference.

Additionally, Institute team members collaboratively created more than 29 unique device adaptations to enable individuals recovering from serious injuries and illnesses greater independence during their rehabilitation journey. Over 35 students (undergraduate through postdoctoral scholar), were mentored, many of whom will serve as the next generation of clinicians, researchers and engineers.