Wheelchairs have long helped people who can’t walk to get around; recently, a device was created to provide the same kind of support and functionality for the arms of people who have been paralyzed. Designed and made by Abilitech Medical, the device provides a way for those who have weak arms or have no use of their arms to complete basic tasks. Patients wear a vest that enables them to put on makeup, brush their teeth, and complete other daily tasks that usually have to be done by someone else. Each vest comes with a set of levels to customize the amount of support needed for a particular task. The levels are controlled by a switch. Being able to pick up objects provides wearers with some basic abilities that give them greater independence, something that has largely been unavailable to people who do not have the ability to use their arms or have diminished abilities. The patient highlighted in the article was able to finally eat a granola bar without someone else’s help through the use of the vest.
Because it is a device that was recently approved, the application process to get a vest takes a while to complete and gain approval. It is also so new insurance plans may not always cover the full cost of the expensive device (it is around $30,000). Though it is costly, the ability to be able to do more for themselves can help improve the patient’s quality of life and provide them with satisfaction since they don’t have to rely on someone else for everything they do.
To learn more about this potentially life changing device, go to ‘Wheelchair for the Arms’ Arizona Woman Living with Spinal-Cord Injuries Helps Test for the full article.