Tag Archives: Stroke

World Heart Day

World Heart Day

World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.

World Heart Day is an annual event which takes place on 29 September every year. Each year’s celebrations have a different theme, reflecting key issues and topics relating to heart health. The theme this year is: Heart-Healthy Environments.

For more information please visit the World Heart Federation’s Website!

Rehabilitation Information

Rehabilitation describes specialized healthcare dedicated to improving, maintaining or restoring physical strength, cognition and mobility with maximized results. Typically, rehabilitation helps people gain greater independence after illness, injury or surgery.

Usually delivered by a diverse team of experts, rehabilitation blends many specialties for the best treatment plan, such as:

  • Physical therapy for increased strength and mobility
  • Occupational therapy for improved everyday living skills
  • Speech and language therapy for improved communication

Enhanced healing and function with rehabilitation therapy

Rehabilitation plays a critical role in healing, repair and recovery in a wide range of injuries, illnesses and conditions:

  • Improves speech, everyday skills and mobility in stroke, head injury and other neurological disorders
  • Strengthens bones and promotes muscular healing after total joint replacement surgery and other orthopedic surgery
  • Maximizes function and independence after spinal cord injury
  • And many others

Rehabilitation therapy pairs a team of expert doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals with advanced technology. Each plan is custom-designed for the patient’s diverse individual needs.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, often referred to as “afib”, is an irregular heartbeat, a rapid heartbeat, or a quivering of the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. Atrial fibrillation is due to a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system, and is the most common heart irregularity, or cardiac arrhythmia.

Is Atrial Fibrillation Serious?
While atrial fibrillation may not sound serious, and is often considered to be a minor health issue, it can actually be quite risky and potentially even life threatening.

Since the blood doesn’t properly move from the atria into the ventricles and then on to the rest of the body, it can starve the body of oxygen-rich blood, leaving you feeling weak, tired, or even incapacitated.

Even more serious is that the blood that remains in the atria can pool and create blood clots, which may get spawned to the rest of the body, causing a stroke. Stroke is not only the number three killer, it is the number one cause of permanent disability.

For more information about Atrial Fibrillation you can go to: www.stopafib.org

How to adapt your new or pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

Driving after a stroke is often a major concern for survivor’s and their loved ones. It prompts many questions about ability, safety and vehicle options. Often times, the physical disadvantages that result from stroke can compromise a survivor’s ability to operate their vehicle.

Advances in the vehicle modification industry have introduced new driving controls that are giving independence back to stroke survivors that want to drive. They allow them to get back behind the wheel in their own vehicle to go where they want to go, when they want to go.

Innovative vehicle modifications such as hand controls, left-foot accelerators, lifts and mobility seating can transform your personal vehicle into a vehicle that give you more freedom.

Mobility equipment dealers strive to remain at the forefront of the vehicle modification industry by providing cutting-edge technology and a full selection of adaptable equipment for your pre-owned vehicle.

Hand Controls For Stroke Survivors with Limited Use of their Feet
Automotive Innovations is New England’s  #1 hand control installation facility  manufacturer of hand controls and driving aids for the disabled. Hand control systems are specifically designed to give drivers the benefit of controlling a vehicle with both hands on the wheel making for a safer, smoother driving experience.

Unlike other manual and or servo hand control installers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, we have the ability to offer a custom fitment to your vehicle and you, for everything from a Fiat 500 to a Lamborghini Aventador no one else has the master craftsman, machining equipment and facility capable of performing a custom installation the way we can.

Push Rock hand controls have a handle in a vertical position; accelerating by rocking back in an arching motion using the fingers and/or the palm. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Spinner knob: Attached to the steering wheel to allow controlled steering with use of one hand.
  • Single Pin: As an alternative to the spinner knob, this hand control was designed for clients that cannot open their hand fully.
  • Tri Pin: Great for an independent driver. It requires minimal gripping strength and/or reduced wrist stability.
  • V-Grip: This attachment is intended for drivers with moderate gripping strength.
  • Steering Wheel Extension: This device is individually customizable, so you can pick a diameter and height that best suits your needs. The easily removable device is completely compatible with any OEM steering wheel.

Servo electronic mobility controls offers driving control products that are safe and provide piece of mind every time you are on the road.

  • Lever  A gas/brake input with adjustable levels of force and travel from the full gas to the full brake position. It is designed for customers that have a wider range of motion and a larger effort level.
  • One handed steering and gas brake  A input that you can steer that is available in a two-axis configuration for gas/brake and steering It has a adjustable range of motion and very low levels  of force to operate. It is designed and custom build for each customers specific range of motion and abilities.
  • Wheel  A steering input that can be adjusted to less than 2 oz of force at the proper orthotic position of 3 3/8” from center. It is also able to be adaptable for customers that have a wider range of motion.

Left-foot Accelerator
Automotive Innovations offers the best left foot gas pedals with unmatched installations.  Left-foot accelerator are designed to offer a left foot gas pedal which acts exactly like your vehicle’s existing gas pedal. Our Left foot gas pedals are removable with features like a quick-release base so the entire assembly can be removed and re-installed quickly and easily.

Lifts for Stroke Survivors that use Wheelchairs or Walkers
Automotive Innovations can offer more solutions for the transportation of your mobility device than any other dealership in New England.

” Its worth the drive, I live in the western part of Massachusetts and will never trust my van with anyone other than Automotive Innovations. They have been taking care of me and my vans since 1996. When a company comes through for you time and time again whats that worth? For me it’s priceless and the drive is irrelevant.”

Chris P Whately, MA

  • Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts while are not always practical they do work in all types of vehicles. These fold-down wheelchair and scooter lifts make lifting and storing your manual folding wheelchair or scooter possible.

Mobility Seating
The mobility transfer seat is an innovative system for lower vehicles which can provide easer  access to an automotive seat. The seat power rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. These seats are not always practical for every type of vehicle

Our goal is to match your lifestyle and your vehicle with equipment that will deliver independence.

Finding a Dealer That’s Up to Standards

Hand controls, left-foot accelerator, lifts and mobility seating offers opportunities for the stroke survivor to regain their mobility freedom in their pre-owned vehicle. You have just found the best mobility dealer in all of New England that offers a ever evolving selection of adaptable equipment.

It is important to select a reputable dealer to provide the adaptable equipment and installation for your pre-owned vehicle.

  1. Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  2. Are they Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified?
  3. Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  4. Do they provide 24/7 emergency service?
  5. Do they provide training on the adaptable equipment?
  6. Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?

Adapting pre-owned vehicles provides stroke survivors with mobility freedom in the vehicle they love and are familiar with.

National Stroke Awareness Month

What Is A Stroke?
A stroke is a “brain attack”. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example, someone who had a small stroke may only have minor problems such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.

Stroke by the Numbers

  • Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.
  • A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke.
  • Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.

Congenital Heart Defects: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a congenital heart defect?

  • Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth.
  • Common examples include holes in the inside walls of the heart and narrowed or leaky valves. In more severe forms of CHDs, blood vessels or heart chambers may be missing, poorly formed, and/or in the wrong place.

How common are congenital heart defects?

  • CHDs are the most common birth defects. CHDs occur in almost 1% of births.
  • An approximate 100-200 deaths are due to unrecognized heart disease in newborns each year. These numbers exclude those dying before diagnosis.
  • Nearly 40,000 infants in the U.S. are born each year with CHDs.
  • CHDs are as common as autism and about twenty-five times more common than cystic fibrosis.
  • Approximately two to three million individuals are thought to be living in the United States with CHDs. Because there is no U.S. system to track CHDs beyond early childhood, more precise estimates are not available.
  • Thanks to improvements in survival, the number of adults living with CHDs is increasing. It is now believed that the number of adults living with CHDs is at least equal to, if not greater than, the number of children living with CHDs.

What is the health impact of congenital heart defects?

  • CHDs are the most common cause of infant death due to birth defects.
  • Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive.
  • Over 85% of babies born with a CHD now live to at least age 18. However, children born with more severe forms of CHDs are less likely to reach adulthood.
  • Surgery is often not a cure for CHDs. Many individuals with CHDs require additional operation(s) and/or medications as adults.
  • People with CHDs face a life-long risk of health problems such as issues with growth and eating, developmental delays, difficulty with exercise, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or stroke.
  • People with CHDs are now living long enough to develop illnesses like the rest of the adult population, such as high blood pressure, obesity and acquired heart disease.
  • CHDs are now the most common heart problem in pregnant women.

What causes congenital heart defects?

  • Most causes of CHDs are unknown. Only 15-20% of all CHDs are related to known genetic conditions.
  • Most CHDs are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other risk factors, such as environmental exposures and maternal conditions. Because the heart is formed so early in pregnancy, the damage may occur before most women know they are pregnant.
  • Environmental exposures that may be related to risk of having a CHD include the mother’s diet and certain chemicals and medications. Maternal diabetes is a recognized cause of CHDs. Maternal obesity, smoking, and some infections also may raise the risk of having a baby with a CHD. Preventing these risk factors before a pregnancy is crucial.
  • A baby’s risk of having a CHD is increased by 3 times if the mother, father, or sibling has a CHD.

February is National AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month

AMD or Age-Related Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss affecting over 15 million adults over the age of 50.To understand how AMD affects your vision. Take your left hand and cover your left eye, now make a fist with your right hand. Take your right fist and place it directly in front of your right eye. The only thing you should see is images in your periphery or side vision. Now imagine that this is how you are to function within the world.

AMD
Age-Related Macular degeneration can develop so slowly that it’s not until the vision is getting severely bad that the patient will notice. Age-Related Macular Degeneration primarily destroys the sharp central vision controlled by a spot at the back of the retina called the macula. Sharp central vision is needed to read, drive, identify faces, watch television and perform daily tasks that require straight ahead vision.

Risk Factors
The exact cause of AMD is not known. But there are a number of risk factors that may play a role. Some you can help control, some you can’t.The same things that put you at risk for heart disease and stroke also put you at risk for AMD. These include:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Obesity
• Smoking
Risks you cannot control include age, family history, gender and race.
Symptoms
AMD symptoms include blurriness, wavy lines, or a blind spot. You may also notice visual distortions such as:
• Straight lines or faces appearing wavy
• Doorways seeming crooked
• Objects appearing smaller or farther away
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed with wet AMD, it is important to see a Retina Specialist for the most appropriate care

Living with AMD
Make the Most of your Vision. Millions of people have macular degeneration and millions of them continue to do everything they always did. Because you never become blind with AMD, there is always sight available if you know how to use it.
The peripheral vision you have helps you to get around the house and outside. There are devices and techniques for everything from reading to cooking to watching sports on TV. You may have to stop driving at some point, but for everything else, there is a solution.
If you are losing sight, there are some simple things you can do on your own to improve your ability to see. Don’t become discouraged! You will probably need to try out multiple devices before you find one that works for you. These range from magnifiers that are held in the hand or suspended on a stand to devices that attach to your glasses or computers that help you to read.

Things you can do on your own:
• Improve the lighting in your home and office. This may not necessarily mean that you should increase the lighting or the brightness. Glare is often a problem for people with low vision. You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for you. Special lights are available through many catalogs.
• Use high contrast for reading and writing. Write in large letters with a broad felt tip pen on white or light paper.
• Use large print books or try other media, like books on tape, disk or mp3. Most libraries have a section of these or you can find them online. There are also special libraries for visually impaired.
• Use a hand held magnifier. In the beginning, you may find some help at your local drug store by trying out the various small hand-held magnifiers available. If one of them helps your vision, you should certainly use it. Other magnifying devices may be more useful if your vision is very bad.

February Is American Heart Month: Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices

During the month of February, Americans see the human heart as the symbol of love. February is American Heart Month, a time to show yourself the love. Learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and stay “heart healthy” for yourself and your loved ones.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure— is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities. CVD costs the United States over $300 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Understanding the Burden of CVD
CVD does not affect all groups of people in the same way. Although the number of preventable deaths has declined in people aged 65 to 74 years, it has remained unchanged in people under age 65. Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from preventable CVD.

Many CVD deaths could have been prevented through healthier habits, healthier living spaces, and better management of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Take It One Step at a Time

You can control a number of risk factors for CVD, including:

  • Diet
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes

As you begin your journey to better heart health that can last a lifetime, keep these things in mind:

  • Try not to become overwhelmed. Every step brings you closer to a healthier heart, and every healthy choice makes a difference!
  • Partner up. The journey is more fun—and often more successful—when you have company. Ask friends and family to join you.
  • Don’t get discouraged. You may not be able to take all of the steps at one time. Get a good night’s sleep—also important for a healthy heart—and do what you can tomorrow.
  • Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress. Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with your family or friends.

Plan for Prevention
Try out these strategies for better heart health. You’ll be surprised how many of them can become lifelong habits!

Work with your health care team. Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes—conditions that can go unnoticed for too long.

Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office.

Get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your health care professional about this simple blood test.

Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid CVD and its complications. Limiting sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least five servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, health care professionals often calculate a number called body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s body fat.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Remember to incorporate exercise into your day in different ways: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or rake the yard instead of using the leaf blower. Exercising with friends and family can be a great way to stay healthy and have fun.

Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your health care team can suggest ways to help you quit.

Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.

Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your health care team about treatment options.

Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or another condition, follow the instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you have side effects, talk with your health care team about your options.

Together, we all can prevent and manage heart disease, one step at a time.

Stroke Awareness

Stroke Awareness 2014
Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in America & a leading cause of adult disability.

Up to 80% of strokes are preventable; you can prevent a stroke!

What is a stroke?
A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.  When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.

When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost.  These abilities include speech, movement and memory.  How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

For example, someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor problems such as weakness of an arm or leg.  People who have larger strokes may be paralyzed on one side or lose their ability to speak.  Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.

History of National Stroke Awareness Month
National Stroke Awareness Month takes place in May every year. On May 11, 1989, President George H. W. Bush signed Presidential Proclamation 5975 designating May as National Stroke Awareness Month at the urging of National Stroke Association. Since then, National Stroke Association has been honoring this special time of the year to increase public awareness of stroke in an effort to conquer it.

Over the years, public education campaigns have been conducted during May to increase awareness of different aspects of stroke that directly affect specific populations, such as women or those at high risk for stroke. Today, National Stroke Association continues educating the public through campaigns such as the Faces of Stroke℠ and by designing easy-to-use tools and resources that initiate individuals and groups to raise awareness on a local level.

There is a great movement of stroke champions already engaged in heightening the awareness of stroke in the U.S. By joining the thousands of people already committed to stroke awareness, you adopt stroke as a cause and put everyone further down the road to reduced incidence.

What Does it Mean to Raise Awareness?
Raising stroke awareness is about:

  • Elevating stroke in the mindset of everyone in the U.S. so more people care about supporting stroke research and education.
  • Ensuring that everyone understands the emotional, physical and financial impacts that stroke has on our country.
  • Influencing others to improve their health by sharing personal stories of how stroke has already affected the lives of so many.
  • Talking to legislators and thought leaders about how their decisions can positively affect survivors throughout their recovery.
  • Providing a platform for the more than 7 million survivors and their families to discuss their experiences and live with dignity. Stroke survivors possess the most influential and inspiring knowledge needed to make an impact on society. Their voices are so important.

Raising awareness knows no boundaries. Even the smallest efforts matter.

How to adapt your pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

VMi New England Wheelchair vans & ramp:Lift options
Easy Car Makeovers for Adaptive Driving

Driving after a stroke is often a major concern for survivor’s and their loved ones. It prompts many questions about ability, safety and vehicle options. Often times, the physical disadvantages that result from stroke can compromise a survivor’s ability to operate their vehicle.

Advances in the vehicle modification industry have introduced new driving controls that are giving independence back to stroke survivors that want to drive. They allow them to get back behind the wheel in their own vehicle to go where they want to go, when they want to go.

Innovative vehicle modifications such as hand controls, left-foot accelerators, lifts and mobility seating can transform your personal vehicle into a vehicle that give you more freedom.

Mobility equipment dealers strive to remain at the forefront of the vehicle modification industry by providing cutting-edge technology and a full selection of adaptable equipment for your pre-owned vehicle.


Hand Controls For Stroke Survivors with Limited Use of their Feet

Automotive Innovations is New England’s  #1 hand control installation facility  manufacturer of hand controls and driving aids for the disabled. Hand control systems are specifically designed to give drivers the benefit of controlling a vehicle with both hands on the wheel making for a safer, smoother driving experience.

Unlike other manual and or servo hand control installers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, we have the ability to offer a custom fitment to your vehicle and you, for everything from a Fiat 500 to a Lamborghini Aventador no one else has the master craftsman, machining equipment and facility capable of performing a custom installation the way we can.

Push Rock hand controls have a handle in a vertical position; accelerating by rocking back in an arching motion using the fingers and/or the palm. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Spinner knob: Attached to the steering wheel to allow controlled steering with use of one hand.
  • Single Pin: As an alternative to the spinner knob, this hand control was designed for clients that cannot open their hand fully.
  • Tri Pin: Great for an independent driver. It requires minimal gripping strength and/or reduced wrist stability.
  • V-Grip: This attachment is intended for drivers with moderate gripping strength.
  • Steering Wheel Extension: This device is individually customizable, so you can pick a diameter and height that best suits your needs. The easily removable device is completely compatible with any OEM steering wheel.

Servo electronic mobility controls offers driving control products that are safe and provide piece of mind every time you are on the road.

  • Lever:  A gas/brake input with adjustable levels of force and travel from the full gas to the full brake position.
    • It is designed for customers that have a wider range of motion and a larger effort level.
  • One handed steering and gas brake:  A input that you can steer that is available in a two-axis configuration for gas/brake and steering It has a adjustable range of motion and very low levels  of force to operate.
    • It is designed and custom build for each customers specific range of motion and abilities.
  • Wheel:  A steering input that can be adjusted to less than 2 oz of force at the proper orthotic position of 3 3/8” from center.
    • It is also able to be adaptable for customers that have a wider range of motion.

Left-foot Accelerator

Automotive Innovations’ offers the best left foot gas pedals with unmatched installations.  Left-foot accelerators are designed to offer a left foot gas pedal which acts exactly like your vehicle’s existing gas pedal. Our Left foot gas pedals are removable with features like a quick-release base so the entire assembly can be removed and re-installed quickly and easily.

 

Lifts for Stroke Survivors that use Wheelchairs or Walkers
Automotive Innovations can offer more solutions for the transportation of your mobility device than any other dealership in New England.

“Its worth the drive, I live in the western part of Massachusetts and will never trust my van with anyone other than Automotive Innovations. They have been taking care of me and my vans since 1996. When a company comes through for you time and time again whats that worth? For me it’s priceless and the drive is irrelevant.”
– Chris P Whately, MA

  • Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts while not always practical they do work in all types of vehicles. These fold-down wheelchair and scooter lifts make lifting and storing your manual folding wheelchair or scooter possible.


Mobility Seating

The mobility transfer seat is an innovative system for lower vehicles which can provide easer  access to an automotive seat. The seat power rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. These seats are not always practical for every type of vehicle

Our goal is to match your lifestyle and your vehicle with equipment that will deliver independence.


Finding a Dealer That’s Up to Standards

Hand controls, left-foot accelerator, lifts and mobility seating offers opportunities for the stroke survivor to regain their mobility freedom in their pre-owned vehicle. You have just found the best mobility dealer in all of New England that offers a ever evolving selection of adaptable equipment.

It is important to select a reputable dealer to provide the adaptable equipment and installation for your pre-owned vehicle.

  1. Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  2. Are they Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified?
  3. Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  4. Do they provide 24/7 emergency service?
  5. Do they provide training on the adaptable equipment?
  6. Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?

Driving Assessment Program: Spaulding Outpatient Centers

Driving Assessment Program

Man driving with evaluator New EnglandThrough their Driving Assessment Program, Spaulding Outpatient Centers offer evaluations for people experiencing functional changes due to trauma, surgery, a neurologic incident, or the aging process. It is an essential part of the assessment to address any deficits that may influence your safety and independence behind the wheel and as a licensed driver.
Medical conditions that may affect driving skills include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, acquired or traumatic brain injury, macular degeneration, glaucoma, neuropathy, cardiac disease, arthritis and cerebral palsy. These conditions may affect your vision, memory, attention, and ability to problem solve and react quickly.
If you are unsure if your condition affects your driving abilities, or if you need a doctor’s order to medically clear you to drive, you may benefit from a driving evaluation. If you are concerned about the driving abilities of a family member or friend, you may want to recommend that they participate in a driving assessment.
We will assess your vision, spatial awareness, ability to shift attention, problem solving, sequencing, and awareness of others on the road. We also will assess your own strengths and weaknesses, ability to read traffic signs, ability to identify and safely respond to hazards, gas/brake/steering reaction time, and other physical and cognitive abilities. This evaluation may also examine the need for adaptive equipment to make driving easier for you. 

Our approach is to assess all of the abilities of a person who is driving – physical, cognitive, visual, perceptual, as well as driving behaviors. We start with a clinical assessment that takes one to two hours.  Following this, a person may be recommended for an in-vehicle assessment coordinated between the patient, their family/support, the occupational therapist, and one of our partner driving schools.
Following both assessments, recommendations are made to resume driving safely, pursue retraining on the road, pursue modifications/training for vehicles, pursue additional therapy to address areas of concerns, or refrain from driving. Alternative transportation options may be discussed as well. Reports are sent to the referring physician and may be sent to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

A Driving Assessment is conducted by an occupational therapist at one of our six centers specializing in this evaluation. The occupational therapist has the opportunity to participate in training in the most advanced assessment tools and methods to ensure competent decision making both clinically and on the road.
The Spaulding occupational therapists who perform driving assessments have a unique benefit of being able to consult with each other as part of a team to allow the best quality of service for their patients. Our Spaulding occupational therapists are skilled in the assessment of vision, perception, cognition and mobility, as well as the complex interaction of all of these components during driving.

The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is dedicated to researching innovative treatments for our patients who may need assistance with driving evaluations.

 

Program
In-Vehicle Assessment

Description
An on-the-road evaluation may be performed to determine your ability to drive safely in a closely supervised environment. This involves an in-traffic evaluation, helping to correlate the findings from the clinical tests with your on-the-road performance. This evaluation is performed in a vehicle that has an instructor’s brake, an occupational therapy, and a certified driving instructor. Results of both the clinical and road evaluations are sent to the referring physician along with specific recommendations, such as medical follow-up, outpatient therapy, driving lessons, or adaptations to your car to allow for safe driving. The evaluation is given on a self-pay basis and takes between two and three hours to complete.


Clinical Assessment
The clinical assessment utilizes evidence-based testing correlated to the skills required for driving. This includes vision, cognitive, and physical/reaction time testing.

 

Driving Assessments are offered at these Spaulding Outpatient Centers:

Outpatient
Spaulding Outpatient Center Sandwich
Spaulding Outpatient Center Wellesley
Spaulding Outpatient Center Braintree
Spaulding Outpatient Center Boston


Inpatient
Spaulding Hospital North Shore
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod

 

Assistive Technology Services

Image Goes HereIn the past decade, advances in computer technology and materials science have revolutionized the field of assistive and adaptive technologies. Assistive technologies can open new worlds for individuals with physical, communication, and cognitive limitations.
Technologies can help someone who is learning to live with a new disability compensate for his or her limitations. A new technology may also help someone with a chronic or progressive disabling condition maintain or improve his or her independence.
At Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s (SRN) Assistive Technology Center in Boston, dedicated and experienced clinicians in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology provide assessments and training with different types of assistive technologies.
Alternative Computer Access
 – People who are unable to use a standard keyboard or mouse due to physical, visual, or cognitive limitations may be able to operate a computer with alternative computer access technologies such as voice recognition, adaptive keyboards, a specialized mouse, or assistive software.


Assisted Memory and Information Processing
 – Electronic memory aids can benefit outpatients following brain injury, as well as individuals with dementia or other forms of memory loss. Small portable computing devices such as PDAs and smart phones can successfully aid individuals with memory loss.


Communication
 –  Spaulding’s Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) program provides comprehensive evaluations and interventional strategies for those needing alternative or augmentative means of communication through use of a variety of different communication devices.  Augmentative and Alternative Communication is a set of strategies and methods to assist people who are unable to meet their communication needs through speech or writing. AAC strategies may include low-tech options (such as letter boards or communication books) or high technology devices that produce speech. These devices can be customized to meet the individual’s communication needs at home, at school, at work, and in the community. The goal is to provide communication skills that extend beyond simply conveying of basic wants and needs, and provides the means to allow each individual to be heard, and to express emotions.


Electronic Aids to Daily Living
 – People who have difficulty using their arms and hands to control objects during everyday activities can gain control through remote switches to operate household appliances and devices such as TV, stereo, lights, call bell devices, door openers, and thermostats.


Ergonomics
 – Repetitive Strain Injury can make it difficult to use a standard computer set-up. Many people with wrist, shoulder, or neck pain may benefit from using ergonomic keyboards and mice, and from workstation modifications and body mechanics education.


Mobility, Seating, and Positioning
 – Wheelchair users may gain further independence through advanced wheelchair technologies. Some people may require modifications to a manual wheelchair; others may need a power wheelchair controlled by a joystick or a specialized switch, activated by sip and puff, or head movement.
Wheelchair users who have difficulty sitting upright, or who have postural abnormalities, may also benefit from customized seating and positioning systems. The systems use modified back supports, seating components, and tilt or recline features to meet an individual’s needs. The systems are designed so that users can achieve the best possible posture and can improve their performance of everyday activities.

 

 

How to adapt your new or pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

How to adapt your pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

Easy Car Makeovers for Adaptive Driving

 CAN I DRIVE AFTER A STROKE newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Driving after a stroke is often a major concern for survivor’s and their loved ones. It prompts many questions about ability, safety and vehicle options. Often times, the physical disadvantages that result from stroke can compromise a survivor’s ability to operate their vehicle.

Advances in the vehicle modification industry have introduced new driving controls that are giving independence back to stroke survivors that want to drive. They allow them to get back behind the wheel in their own vehicle to go where they want to go, when they want to go.

Innovative vehicle modifications such as hand controls, left-foot accelerators, lifts and mobility seating can transform your personal vehicle into a vehicle that give you more freedom.

Mobility equipment dealers strive to remain at the forefront of the vehicle modification industry by providing cutting-edge technology and a full selection of adaptable equipment for your pre-owned vehicle.

Hand Controls For Stroke Survivors with Limited Use of their Feet

Automotive Innovations is New England’s  #1 hand control installation facility  manufacturer of hand controls and driving aids for the disabled. Hand control systems are specifically designed to give drivers the benefit of controlling a vehicle with both hands on the wheel making for a safer, smoother driving experience.

Unlike other manual and or servo hand control installers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, we have the ability to offer a custom fitment to your vehicle and you, for everything from a Fiat 500 to a Lamborghini Aventador no one else has the master craftsman, machining equipment and facility capable of performing a custom installation the way we can.

Push Rock hand controls have a handle in a vertical position; accelerating by rocking back in an arching motion using the fingers and/or the palm. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Spinner knob: Attached to the steering wheel to allow controlled steering with use of one hand.
  • Single Pin: As an alternative to the spinner knob, this hand control was designed for clients that cannot open their hand fully.
  • Tri Pin: Great for an independent driver. It requires minimal gripping strength and/or reduced wrist stability.
  • V-Grip: This attachment is intended for drivers with moderate gripping strength.
  • Steering Wheel Extension: This device is individually customizable, so you can pick a diameter and height that best suits your needs. The easily removable device is completely compatible with any OEM steering wheel.

Servo electronic mobility controls offers driving control products that are safe and provide piece of mind every time you are on the road.

Servo Steering Servo gas brake

  • Lever  A gas/brake input with adjustable levels of force and travel from the full gas to the full brake position. It is designed for customers that have a wider range of motion and a larger effort level.
  • One handed steering and gas brake  A input that you can steer that is available in a two-axis configuration for gas/brake and steering It has a adjustable range of motion and very low levels  of force to operate. It is designed and custom build for each customers specific range of motion and abilities.
  • Wheel  A steering input that can be adjusted to less than 2 oz of force at the proper orthotic position of 3 3/8” from center. It is also able to be adaptable for customers that have a wider range of motion.

Left-foot Accelerator

Automotive Innovations offers the best left foot gas pedals with unmatched installations.  Left-foot accelerator are designed to offer a left foot gas pedal which acts exactly like your vehicle’s existing gas pedal. Our Left foot gas pedals are removable with features like a quick-release base so the entire assembly can be removed and re-installed quickly and easily.

Lifts for Stroke Survivors that use Wheelchairs or Walkers

Automotive Innovations can offer more solutions for the transportation of your mobility device than any other dealership in New England.

” Its worth the drive, I live in the western part of Massachusetts and will never trust my van with anyone other than Automotive Innovations. They have been taking care of me and my vans since 1996. When a company comes through for you time and time again whats that worth? For me it’s priceless and the drive is irrelevant.”

Chris P Whately, MA

  • Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts while are not always practical they do work in all types of vehicles. These fold-down wheelchair and scooter lifts make lifting and storing your manual folding wheelchair or scooter possible.

Mobility Seating

The mobility transfer seat is an innovative system for lower vehicles which can provide easer  access to an automotive seat. The seat power rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. These seats are not always practical for every type of vehicle

Our goal is to match your lifestyle and your vehicle with equipment that will deliver independence.

Finding a Dealer That’s Up to Standards

Hand controls, left-foot accelerator, lifts and mobility seating offers opportunities for the stroke survivor to regain their mobility freedom in their pre-owned vehicle. You have just found the best mobility dealer in all of New England that offers a ever evolving selection of adaptable equipment.

It is important to select a reputable dealer to provide the adaptable equipment and installation for your pre-owned vehicle.

  1. Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  2. Are they Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified?
  3. Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  4. Do they provide 24/7 emergency service?
  5. Do they provide training on the adaptable equipment?
  6. Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?

Adapting pre-owned vehicles provides stroke survivors with mobility freedom in the vehicle they love and are familiar with.

By: Jim Sanders, VMi New England

Raising Stroke Awareness for the Month of May

Help Raise Stroke Awareness

Many people are familiar with what it means to have a stroke – it is the fourth leading cause of death in America, and so has impacted the loved ones of many. When a blood clot breaks free and blocks an artery, or a blood vessel breaks, stopping blood flow to an area of the brain, brain cells in the affected area die. This results in damage to the brain, and is called a stroke, brain attack, cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or ischemic stroke. Sometimes a person will suffer something called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a “mini-stroke” that cuts off the supply of blood to the brain but does not cause lasting brain damage; although there is not permanent damage, there is a high risk of suffering a repeat TIA or a full stroke if not properly treated. Signs that a stroke is happening or has just occurred include sudden weakness or numbness of an arm, leg, or face – commonly just one side, sudden difficulty speaking, sudden difficulty walking or loss of balance, trouble seeing through one or both eyes, or sudden onset severe headache.

In support of Stroke Awareness Month, we invite you to learn more about stroke: how to minimize the risk of one occurring, and how to recognize one happening so that medical help can be called for as soon as possible.  Check in to our blog or Facebook throughout the month of May for more information on stroke and how to participate in awareness campaigns in your area.