Over 720 people are admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital each year with stroke and 75% of these have lower limb weakness. But the brain can adapt and people can relearn to walk through repetition and practice.
The Walkerbot uses a harness suspended above a treadmill and robotic limbs to move the patient’s legs in a consistent pattern. A computer controls the pace of walking and measures and adapts to the body’s response to movement.
Patients will take thousands of consistent steps per session, compared to the dozens they might otherwise take using traditional over-ground rehabilitation. The Walkerbot also works with patients that have no activity in their lower limbs.
The Charity started fundraising in 2020 and thanks to generous donations from community organisations, local businesses and individuals, just £55,000 remains of the £365,000 fundraising target.
Louise Johnson, Consultant Therapist in Stroke and NIHR Clinical Lecturer, said: ‘We have been blown away by the support the Walkerbot appeal has received, and are so grateful for every donation.
‘This amazing piece of robotics will revolutionise our rehabilitation process for both patients and staff. Patients will take more steps per session and staff will be able to run the sessions without spending long periods of time crouching on the floor. We are so excited to be nearly at our target and cannot wait to be able to bring the Walkerbot to our hospital.’
Karen Smith, Fundraising Manager at Bournemouth Hospital Charity, said: ‘Every donation from our generous community takes us another step closer to our target, and another step closer to being able to offer this amazing technology to people who are relearning to walk after a stroke.
‘Fundraising for this particular appeal has been a community effort – it is a huge boost for our teams – so a huge thank you to everyone that has donated.’