Rehabilitation Hospital One of First in Country to Offer New Technology to Help Stroke Patients Walk

Local facility only hospital in state to provide new technology


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Thursday, March 8, 2012) – As the region’s only free-standing facility dedicated solely to rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, a Lutheran Health Network member, has helped thousands of patients regain independence despite serious illness or injury. As a leader in the delivery of innovative care for this unique patient population, Rehabilitation Hospital is now using new equipment designed to help patients with walking limitations.

Initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration in August of 2011, the Ness L300 Plus system uses FES (functional electric stimulation) to activate weakened muscles in the thigh and lower leg of stroke survivors and others with central nervous system disorders such as traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, or spinal cord injury. These low level electrical impulses provided at the right time and intensity strengthens muscle and may help the brain relearn movement patterns.  Earlier intervention with this technology means that many patients may return home with better mobility and less falls.

Rehabilitation Hospital is among a handful of facilities in the country and the first in the state to obtain this new technology. The device is composed of two cuffs that are applied to the thigh and lower leg.  A sensor placed in the patients shoe and a wireless control unit works with individual control modules to coordinate the timing of the electrical impulses to activate ankle and knee movements.  Specially trained therapists are then able to fine tune various aspects of the walking sequence through a wireless control unit. 

Currently four therapists at Rehabilitation Hospital have been trained to utilize this new technology.  Therapy staff anticipates that use of the Ness L300 Plus will enable patients with neurological conditions to accomplish functional movement sooner and potentially reduce some of the lower limb complications that occur with stroke and traumatic brain injury.

“In some cases, the addition of the Ness L300 Plus to the treatment plan may be the difference between a patient returning to their home or to a nursing home,” said Evan Detweiler, therapy services director, Rehabilitation Hospital.

Currently, four therapists at Rehabilitation Hospital have been trained to utilize this new technology. The therapy staff anticipates that the new equipment will help patients with neurological conditions to achieve functional movement sooner and potentially reduce some of the lower limb complications that occur with stroke and traumatic brain injury.

“This new tool for our toolbox makes recovery easier for patients,” said Thomas Banas, MD, medical director, Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne. “Strong clinical skills and access to the latest technology enables our therapists to help patients return home sooner with better outcomes.

Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne is accredited by The Joint Commission and has received additional accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for their Inpatient Rehabilitation program as well as their Stroke Specialty Program. Rehabilitation Hospital is also seeking CARF accreditation for its Brain Injury Program later this year to join only five other accredited programs in Indiana.

For more information about the Rehabilitation Hospital, please visit



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