Lifeguard Tower

Fall Prevention Research

On the surface, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute looks like the many other hospitals that line bustling University Avenue in Toronto’s downtown. However, in the basement, two floors down from its main entrance, sit four large cylindrical-like simulators that are helping solve some of the major medical mysteries around why people fall.

They look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the research that’s happening in these structures is far from fictional. Using state-of-the-art technology, scientists at KITE, the research arm of Toronto Rehab, are trying to better understand why people fall and what tools, devices and better design can be used to prevent people – old and young – from suddenly dropping to the ground and injuring themselves.

Dr. Alison Novak, a KITE scientist and Home and Community team member at Toronto Rehab, points out that falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury and death, especially in older adults. “We want to understand the environmental impact in terms of fall prevention,” she says. “How can we modify something? What interventions are needed?”

How UHN's state-of-the-art simulators are helping researchers prevent falls
Researchers at KITE are using sophisticated technology to understand why people fall – and how to stop them.

Dec. 16, 2020

Fall Prevention Research

On the surface, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute looks like the many other hospitals that line bustling University Avenue in Toronto’s downtown. However, in the basement, two floors down from its main entrance, sit four large cylindrical-like simulators that are helping solve some of the major medical mysteries around why people fall.

They look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the research that’s happening in these structures is far from fictional. Using state-of-the-art technology, scientists at KITE, the research arm of Toronto Rehab, are trying to better understand why people fall and what tools, devices and better design can be used to prevent people – old and young – from suddenly dropping to the ground and injuring themselves.

Dr. Alison Novak, a KITE scientist and Home and Community team member at Toronto Rehab, points out that falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury and death, especially in older adults. “We want to understand the environmental impact in terms of fall prevention,” she says. “How can we modify something? What interventions are needed?”

Read about research in Toronto going on to prevent falls in our senior population.

DEC. 16, 2020

The Link

Living with MS - Patrick's Story

I am medically retired. This has led to a few very irritating problems. I cannot walk unaided and I’m liable to fall over because my balance is atrocious. I cannot stand up and talk to someone for more than a couple of minutes. If your walking or balance is not challenged, then it is very difficult to comprehend these problems. a sudden I have no more energy. Or I am down in the laundry room ironing and folding clothes and my energy level drops out of the blue, which means I am basically leaning against the table and have to quickly grab onto something so I don’t fall.

”No more leaning against the table and have to quickly grab onto something so I don’t fall.”

Dec. 1, 2020

Special Bike Trips Down Memory Lane

The Glebe Centre long-term care facility is using a special bike to help residents explore their hometowns and countries they've travelled without leaving the building.

The jDome BikeAround is a tool developed in Sweden that uses Google Street View to take users a bike tour.

People sit in front of a domed screen while a projector shows the street from a computer. A set of bike pedals and handles in front of the screen allow people to move the image around and control what they're seeing.

But it doesn't just help residents get exercise, according to Becky Helmer, a program facilitator at The Glebe Centre.

"It has a lot of emotional benefits from the reminiscing and bringing the resident back to places they've been or places that they've lived," she said.

BikeAround is designed specifically for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, and it's use in Ottawa is a Canadian first, according to The Glebe Centre.

Special bike takes dementia patients down memory lane in long term care

March 27, 2018

VELA Tango 200E used in Alzheimers Treatment Programs in Long Term Care

The Ride Around Program is a treatment concept developed in Sweden to stimulate memory. In older people with dimentia, it has been observed, that a virtual trip through an old familiar neighbourhood, can "visually" stimulate memory function in a positive manor. The VELA Tango Chairs work in conjunction with either a hand cycle or leg cycle that operates with the user in a seated position. Many seniors are not safe on a stationary bike due to balance issues. The VELA Tango Chairs help overcome this challenge. The chairs also have a brake system for stable set up and they can experience a ride through their old neighborhood on a virtual bike!

VELA Tango used in Ride Around Program for People with Alzheimers

Nov. 2020

World Premier Bariatric Activity Chair (Electric Height Adjustment)

VELA Tango 310E chair is extremely robust, and the unique braking system ensures that the user has a stable base when the chair is braked and will be able to push/walk the chair around the home, while sitting down, when it is not braked. Severely obese people now have a unique opportunity for safety, stability, and activity in everyday life. People up to 300 kg can maintain/regain the ability to be self-reliant and independent in daily activities at home. The user can thereby sit down and cook, do the laundry, or perform light cleaning safely and stably because the chair provides safety and stability. The chair is also good for rehabilitation and training.
• Robust chair approved for 300 kg user weight - CE marked
• Electric height adjustment helps to stand up.
• Seat cushion: 72 cm wide and 50 cm deep
• Wheel brake provides stability and safety during activities
• Ergonomic support and good seating comfort over many hours

As the first in the world, VELA is launching a chair with electrical high/low function for users up to 300 kg. People with severe obesity now have the opportunity to maintain activity levels and be self-reliant and independent with the help of a chair.

OCT. 15, 2020