Bryan Rinaldi, Certified Rehab Technology Specialist and Licensed OTA of Hudson Home Health Care/Rehab Equipment invited my mom, friends and me to attend the ‘Journey Forward with Hudson’ event at Journey Forward in Canton today. Journey Forward is a non-profit organization who is dedicated to bettering the lives of persons who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury.
When we arrived we found no problem finding a handicap parking space for many are located right up in front. The entry door is wide enough for any size wheelchair and automatic so you will have no problem entering this building.
As soon as we arrived we headed to the restroom before entering the gym. The rest rooms are single rooms and very spacious with all the ADA requirements met. The safety grab bars located on the side and rear wall of the toilet are at a perfect height. The accessible sink is a perfect height for my wheelchair as is the automatic soap dispenser and the automatic towel dispenser. Pipes under the accessible sink are covered as is now ADA required.
We then entered the gym and it was like a dream come true for all the equipment I saw is accessible and adaptive for physically challenged persons like me. Brian greeted us and then introduced us to Brett Fechter, Vice President of Operations. Brett is very committed and dedicated to helping physically challenged persons reach their highest goal. He is also very kind and caring. Brett explained to us that Journey Forward is an exercise based program designed to assist persons with Spinal Cord Injuries so they too can achieve some of these most basic lifelong functions and benefits. Journey Forward also works with persons who have incurred a brain injury or stroke.
Brett then showed us some of the specialized adaptive equipment in the gym. It is state of the art and all the newest technology. Some of the Specialized Programs we saw are: Dynamic Neural Stimulation, Load Bearing, Vibration Training, Gait Training, FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation). You can learn more about the benefits of these programs on their website listed above.
The Specialized Program that really caught my eye was the FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation). You are able to stay in your wheelchair while you use this bike-like machine. The FES sends electrical currents which stimulates nerves to evoke muscle contractions. FES creates patterned movement of the legs, enabling the muscles to work and perform active cycling and increase muscle mass. This machine has many benefits for it increases and promotes range of motion, muscle strength, and cardio improvement. Kristen, a member of the gym was using this FES when I was here and she was very kind and let us take a picture of her using the FES. Thank You Kristen!
This gym is very large and has a lot of room so it is very easy to wheel your chair around. It has many other adaptive equipment such as Standing Frames, Elliptical Machines, Gait and many other great exercise equipment and programs that will help someone recover from their injuries. The goal of this gym is to use the latest research to help persons recover even long after the injury took place.
We were told that Journey Forward technicians work with persons of all levels and abilities in a very active and full body approach. All of their staff have a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science/Kinesiology. Applications are available on their website. We were told that every member must have their doctor’s permission to participate in the programs and a bone density report within the past six months with the doctor’s interpretation.
My only concern about this fantastic gym is that many physically challenged persons will not be able to afford the cost. I sure know I can’t. The cost of their program is $100 per hour. This includes one-on-one training, as well as additional staff to provide help when needed. Insurance does not cover any of the cost because they are not a medical facility. Yet we all know from experience that no insurance covers many medical rehab programs for much time.
I was also very happy to see my good friend, Artemis and her parents, Tony and Popi here today. Artemis and I are very fortunate because we were both able to leave the nursing home where we once resided. I’m very proud of my friend, Artemis for she initiated Yale University’s:” The Artemis Project for Truth Commission Testimonies” which has been named in her honor. Artemis was injured in an auto accident in Sierra Leone, Africa, in May 2004 while working on the “National Vision for Sierra Leone,” a project spun off from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Artemis was passionate about using culture to help oppressed populations recover from upheaval and mass human rights abuse. She was an exemplary Yale student and a tribute to the Department.
I give Journey Forward FIVE STARS for wheelchair accessibility. It’s a wonderful, accessible and adaptive gym with all the newest state of the art technology and equipment that will benefit all persons who incurred a spinal injury, brain injury and/or stroke who can afford it!
I just hope that one day insurance companies will pay for some of the cost of adaptive exercise programs and understand that exercise for physically challenged persons will prevent future health problems.
I also give Artemis FIVE PLUS STARS for all the great work she has accomplished for the Nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.