Rehab Center Gets Smart

September 1, 2013

by Barbara S. Long, APR

Barbara S. Long, APRThere is no doubt that “smart” is the latest buzzword in technology. Smartphones, and increasingly smartcars, are commonplace. It’s easy to foresee a time in the near future when we’ll all use smart technology to control our home, work, and leisure environments with the blink of an eye or a simple voice command.

That future can’t come soon enough for the 38.3 mil­lion people in the United States with severe disabilities. For them, smart technology can mean the difference between needing assistance with everyday living and being independent. The questions for someone in this group are “What is available now?” and “How can I find out what I need?”

A smart idea

These are the questions staff members at the Center for Rehabilitation Technology, a clinical department within Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, NY, try to answer daily for patients who have suffered cata­strophic spinal cord or brain injuries, debilitating strokes, or disabling diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

In 2011, the center was presented with a game-changing opportunity. The Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation planned to sponsor its first charity golf outing and needed a “cause” to attach to the fund­raising effort. It asked all the hospital departments for ideas.

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