The Functional Independence Measure (FIM) assesses patients’ level of independence by testing functionality in ADL. It ensures a unified assessment that helps predict patients’ rehabilitation outcomes and estimate their future burden of care.
The FIM test contains 18 ADL parameters - 13 motor tasks and 5 cognitive tasks. Each task is rated on a scale between 1 to 7 points, according to the level of assistance required to perform it. Scores range from 18 (complete dependency on a caregiver for all ADL tasks) to 126 (full independence).
The ability to negotiate stairs is a key parameter in the FIM test, as it is a common feature in everyday life - climb a staircase to reach the apartment, step on the pavement, access a store, and even enter a bus. For patients suffering from lower extremities impairment, lack of balance or other conditions that affect their ability to move, those tasks can be frightening, challenging and even dangerous. For example, negotiating stairs is often rated as one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish for post stroke patients (T Tsuji, 1955). Inability to perform such basic daily living activities post-rehabilitation creates system dependency, along with higher health costs and potential deterioration of the condition. Therefore, it is highly important to practice stairs negotiation as part of patients’ rehabilitation before discharge.
Most stair exercises are performed on either a single low stair - which does not resemble the functions in real-life environment, or on a fixed height staircase – which prevents low functioning patients from exercising stairs. A more gradual solution must be used to allow patients to practice stairs from an early stage of rehabilitation. This will help them regain strength, balance, and control, and eventually the ability to cope with stairs in a real life environment.
The Dynamic Stair Trainer [DST] is a game changer for patients’ rehabilitation process. It enables a gradual staircase practice ranging from 0 to 16.5 cm (0-6.5 in) between each stair. At the click of a button, the stairs’ height is adjusted to the patients' current ability, and can be gradually increased as they progress. Thanks to this unique feature rehabilitation can actually start at an earlier stage of recovery, and provide a safe and challenging practice to patients in all stages of rehabilitation – from the basic level of ambulation to the most advanced.
By providing a safe and gradual practice to one of the most challenging tasks of mobility, the DST can help achieve better FIM results, faster.