Mobility and Stroke: Exoskeletons Advancing Rehabilitation

lady in wheelchairThe National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke through education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support that address the needs of stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals in the stroke community nationwide. The organization provides services to more than 90,000 stroke survivors, 30,000 caregivers and 110,000 healthcare professionals in the U.S. and Canada, with the number of individuals benefiting from the National Stroke Association’s services and resources growing every day.

The National Stroke Association and Ekso Bionics have formed an educational partnership dedicated to increasing awareness of and access to advanced stroke rehabilitation exoskeleton technology that enables earlier mobility and restored independence for survivors of stroke.

“The partnership between the National Stroke Association and Ekso Bionics is very beneficial, and it’s very appropriate that they use the term “Hope After Stroke” because it’s true. There is hope after the stroke,” said Jessica “Jess” McNair, a stroke survivor, reflecting upon this new partnership.

Jess was just 32-years-old when she experienced what doctors described as “cascades of multiple strokes” resulting from irregularly formed arteries in her neck. This event left her unable to walk, talk or care for herself. Her prognosis was not good and the team of doctors predicted Jess had a 5% chance of living. Like most stroke survivors, her road to recovery started with rigorous occupational, speech, and physical therapy.lady in physical therapy

An estimated 17 million people around the world, just like Jess, will experience stroke each year.  More than 60% of survivors of acute stroke will find themselves unable to walk or in need of intervention in walking. With this need, there is a greater risk associated with falls, dependency, limited participation in social activities and overall lower quality of life.

However, with the advancements of robotic exoskeleton technologies, such as the EksoGT™, the first FDA-cleared exoskeleton device for stroke rehabilitation, the possibility of assisting with ambulation may aid the recovery process by providing earlier mobility and restored independence for stroke survivors like Jess.

CEO of the National Stroke Association, Robyn Moore, firmly believes in the power of exoskeletons during rehab for stroke survivors.

“This campaign will supplement the reach of our current educational programs and resources for survivors and send out a message that better outcomes in stroke rehabilitation is possible through the use of an exoskeleton technology,” Robyn adds. “We endeavor to make exoskeleton technologies, such as the EksoGT™, a part of the dialogue between survivors and their circle of care in regards to their goal to regain mobility and restored independence.”

Jack Peurach, CEO and President of Ekso Bionics, is proud to be part of this partnership, knowing the difference that it will make for stroke survivors.

“As the company behind the first FDA-cleared exoskeleton for stroke rehabilitation, we have inherent obligation to ensure survivors and their healthcare providers are better informed and have access to this technology.” He also mentions that Ekso Bionics will continue to work with the National Stroke Association to establish the EksoGT™ as the standard of care in stroke rehabilitation.

The National Stroke Association and Ekso Bionics educational campaign will include three branches:

National and Regional Push to Elevate Survivor Voices

This partnership will showcase survivors of stroke and their care team in national and regional arenas to highlight the impact of robotic exoskeleton technologies in rehabilitation.

Comeback Trail 2018

As a National Silver Sponsor of the National Stroke Association’s Annual Comeback Trail 2018, Ekso Bionics will bolster engagement of local, leading stroke rehabilitation centers to ensure survivors have access to the latest advancements in stroke rehabilitation within their reach.

Sponsored Educational Content

Publishing and promoting a series of educational content through Ekso Bionics’ Lean on Me podcast, the National Stroke Association’s monthly e-newsletter, and other platforms to equip survivors of stroke and their care partners with information on the evolving technological landscape in stroke recovery.

To learn more about the educational partnership between the National Stroke Association and Ekso Bionics, visit the partnership webpage.

To hear more of Jess’ story and her rehabilitation experience with exoskeletons, download the Lean on Me Podcast, which was developed by Ekso Bionics, with support by the National Stroke Association.