Rehab services from home have been granted to the IDF veterans, prompting Sheba to initiate tele-rehab services.

IDF Veterans Request Home Rehabilitation – Sheba Expands Tele-Rehab Services

Many patients in need of rehabilitation have stopped coming to physiotherapy centers due to fear of infection with the novel coronavirus. In response, Sheba Medical Center has distributed more than 100 remote rehab devices to disabled IDF veterans.

Since the start of the global pandemic, requests have been pouring in to the Defense Ministry from disabled IDF veterans for home rehabilitation devices. In fact, the demand is estimated to have risen by more than 100%. To date, Sheba Medical Center has provided numerous Active Passive Trainer (APT) rehab machines, manufactured by Tzora Active Systems, and dozens more will be sent for home use under remote supervision.

APT devices can be positioned on either the floor or table, depending on the specific limb that requires training. Patients can operate them independently for active or passive exercise. Designed to rehabilitate a wide variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease, APT devices can also be implemented to help people who require long-term rehabilitation for spinal-cord injuries.

The increased demand for APT devices during the COVID-19 period led to the addition of several new features – including a motivation system that gives the patient a chance to play video games as a part of the therapy program and a system to record exercise results and send them to the therapist at the end of each session. These additional components were designed to enhance treatment efficacy and improve the user experience.

Among the IDF veterans who requested APT devices from the Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation Division are Ron Weinreich and Eli Hayut. Weinrich became paralyzed from the waist down during a Hezbollah strike in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, when a building collapsed on his tank. In 2018, Hayut was left paralyzed by a Maglan commando training exercise.

Tzora Active Systems, a leader in the field of exercise rehab, manufactures the APT family of trainers for upper or lower limbs.

Along with transporting the APT systems to patients, Sheba Medical Center and Tzora Active Systems are collaborating to conduct a study on the effectiveness of home rehabilitation using these devices.

“The cooperation between Tzora and Sheba Medical Center will ensure the expanded use of advanced knowledge and technologies, which will significantly improve the quality of life of people with disabilities who are assisted by the Sheba-Milbat collaboration, and in the future of all users of Sheba’s remote medical services,” Prof. Israel Dudkiewicz, Acting Director of the Rehabilitation Department at Sheba Medical Center, stated in a press release. Milbat, a non-profit organization, is focused on improving the lives of the disabled.

“As a result of the coronavirus, remote rehabilitation is being increasingly used, and we decided to go directly to their homes,” said Eyal Sadot, CEO, Tzora Active Systems.

“The veterans didn’t know that they could have this service at home,” he said. “But the longer they saw that they couldn’t have their rehabilitation at Beit Halochem or physiotherapy centers because of coronavirus, they began asking for it. During the coronavirus pandemic, it is very dangerous to meet with people, especially those who are in high-risk groups like these veterans.”

By providing patients with the devices for home use, patients can maintain a daily schedule of exercise – instead of only once or twice weekly at the physiotherapy center. This offers extra bonuses, because the more often rehab exercises are done, the better the results.

Sheba’s mission to enhance tele-rehab and advance patient care doesn’t stop with the distribution of the APT devices. Dudkiewicz explains, “We also intend to promote joint research that will lead to the development of new and advanced telemedicine technologies for the benefit of patients in Israel and around the world.”