The DST Solution
The Dynamic Stair Trainer (DST) is an innovative device designed for people in various stages of rehabilitation who exercise to regain their ability to use steps and slopes. The DST enables the gradual practice of stair-climbing skills for people undergoing physical rehabilitation. The apparatus features four steps whose height can be adjusted electronically from zero to 16.5 centimeters (0– 6.5 inches) between steps. In a click of a button PT can set the height of the stairs to a patient's current ability, and slowly raise the height to challenge them gradually. In its horizontal position is serves as 1.5 meter parallel bars.
The DST Triple provides a wider range of practices with a dynamic staircase, a dynamic slope and 3 meters parallel bars. Just like the staircase, the slope's angle can be electronically adjusted from zero to 26 degrees. It is the perfect solution for practicing all joints and muscles in the lower limbs necessary for full gait rehabilitation. Both models are available with or without the Pro system.
Stairs and slopes are a common feature in everyday life. Whether they are inside the house, the streets or outdoors, we use them several times a day. For patients suffering from lower extremities impairment, lack of balance or other conditions that effects their ability to move, those tasks can be frightening, challenging and even dangerous. Inability to perform such basic daily living activities post-rehabilitation creates system dependency, along with higher health costs and potential deterioration of the condition.
Rehabilitation institutions that lack the DST use wooden stairs with fixed heights and slopes with fixed angles to practices such functions. Instead of adjusting the machines to the needs of the patients, these devices require the patients the impossible task of adjusting themselves to the available machinery. Then, the height or angle is either too high, and thus dangerous, or too low and thus not relevant. Hence, in the absence of the DST, practicing full gait abilities, including stairs and slope, becomes a challenge by itself, rather than a key instrument for rehabilitation.
Advantages of the DST
The DST was tested over a period of several years at numerous rehabilitation centers. Here are the findings:
Practicing stair and slope climbing at an earlier stage of rehabilitation:
Being able to adjust the height of the stair and slope precisely to suit each patient’s level enables patients to begin stairs and slop exercises during the very first stages of rehabilitation, immediately after they are able to walk. On regular stair or on a wooden step device, the height of the stairs is set, usually at 16.5 centimeters (6.5 inches). A patient who cannot yet climb stairs of this height cannot begin stepping exercises. With this incredible physio equipment, we can adjust the height to exactly what the patient is able to do and thus begin staircase exercises at an earlier stage.
Some patients began climbing the stairs at a height difference of one centimeter and within two days succeeded in climbing stairs three centimeters high. Five days later they could already climb eight-centimeter stairs. By introducing this exercise at such an early stage, the entire rate of the patient’s progress increased because stair climbing provides many other beneficial side-effects, including general strengthening of the body, improved coordination, enhanced self-confidence and improved balance.
There is a mental side in practicing stairs and slope, as often the physical abilities are not the hinder component in accomplishing those tasks, but fear is. Coping with stairs and slope can often intimidate patients who are afraid of falling. The mental practice and regained confidence are almost as important as the physical practice. With the DST, patients can practice stairs and slope in a level that is comfortable for them, thus increase their confidence and sense of safety.
Personalize the treatment:
PT’s customizes the rehab program to fit a patient’s unique home environment. For example, if a patient needs to climb three stairs without handrails to get to their home, it would be the main practical goal to achieve before they can be released. Often patients spend a long time in hospitalization because they are not ready to get back to their home environment, even though they could have if their house was more accessible. The DST enables simulates patient’s home environment, including stairs height, slope degree and banisters – for quicker independence and earlier release home.
Reciprocal ascension of steps:
A common phenomenon among people with one weak leg is to climb stairs by leading with the strong leg and dragging the weaker one up to it. By adjusting the DST to the functional level of the weaker leg, patients succeeded in climbing steps reciprocally, rather than by dragging the weaker leg to catch up with the stronger one. This exercise contributed greatly to the patients’ progress, and eventually we were able to increase the height of the steps while maintaining reciprocal ascent.
Increased patient motivation:
An interesting and important aspect of the use of DST was the dramatic increase in patients’ motivation to perform the exercise. We know that exercising on steps and slopes can be fraught with frustration, pain and anxiety. Adjusting the height and degree precisely to the current ability of the patient affords a feeling of achievement as well as reassurance that they will be able to perform this important exercise after their release from the hospital. As one patient said “Now I’ll be able to climb the stairs at home.” This increased motivation was visible in the patients’ willingness and desire to exercise.
Patients would go up and down the steps several times, with the physiotherapist increasing the height of the steps from time to time. They could actually see their own improvement as they found themselves able to ascend steps at a height that only a few days before had been too high for them. The modern design of the device and its electrical self-adjustment mechanism gives the patients a feeling of being in a fitness room rather than in a hospital.
Adjustable handrail height and width:
The possibility of adjusting the height of and the distance between the handrails afforded the staff much greater flexibility in practice. With the height of the handrail adjusted to suit the patient’s height and condition, the patient could concentrate more firmly on his main task. The distance between the rails can be adjusted as well to accommodate both children and adults who require handrail support on both sides.
The adjustability of the steps, slope and handrails as well as the general safety of the device allowed some patients to practice independently after receiving appropriate guidelines from the physiotherapist. Independent practice also accelerated the rehabilitation process and enhanced the patients’ self-confidence.
Shortening rehabilitation time:
In essence, all the points mentioned above contributed to reducing the time required to acquire step-climbing skills and thus of the entire rehabilitation process. The saving in time required to learn to cope with steps was at times quite dramatic.