HSC first in Connecticut with cutting-edge ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0 system 

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (Feb. 11, 2015) – The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) recently awarded Hospital for Special Care (HSC) a $75,000 grant for the purchase of a wearable robotic exoskeleton system, ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0, a robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals to stand upright and to walk.

The ReWalk exoskeleton gait rehabilitation system is clinically proven to produce improvements in walking ability, muscle strength, and quality of walking for patients with neurological impairments such as paraplegia.

“With this grant, our team at Hospital for Special Care will be the first in Connecticut to offer the ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0, to our most medically complex patients. The ReWalk system provides spinal-cord- injured and stroke-recovery patients with user-initiated mobility through the integration of a wearable brace support, a computer-based control system and motion sensors,” said William J. Pesce, D.O., chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Hospital for Special Care.

“The ReWalk system is also the most tested and has the most published data of any other exoskeleton,” Pesce said.  “ReWalk is used in top rehabilitation centers and clinics internationally as well as VA hospitals across the nation.”  During gait rehabilitation sessions, patients wearing the exoskeleton may walk around the rehab gym where they can practice skills of daily living including opening a door and changing direction instead of remaining on a stationary treadmill.

The system allows independent, controlled walking while mimicking the natural gait patterns of the legs, similar to that of an able-bodied person. In addition to the ability to stand and walk independently, clinical studies of the ReWalk rehabilitation system show significant health benefits to the user on a physiological and psychological level.

“Purchasing the ReWalk system will give HSC the ability to increase the number of patients receiving gait rehabilitation training. We estimate that more than 100 patients a year can be treated by adding this therapeutic option” Pesce said.

CHEFA recently announced $1.25 million in grants to 18 of its nonprofit client agencies throughout the state.  CHEFA is a quasi-public agency created by the State Legislature to help Connecticut healthcare and educational institutions, and other not-for-profit entities obtain tax exempt financing.  CHEFA is self-sustaining and receives no taxpayer funds.  For more information about CHEFA, visit www.chefa.com.