O’FALLON, Ill. – Equipment that lets patients learn and practice safe methods to get in and out of vehicles is now in use at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, Ill.
The Trans-Sit Car Transfer Simulator, from Advanced Therapy Products, was unveiled this month in the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Unit. The purchase was made possible by a grant from HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Foundation through a donation from the Jack Schmitt Chevrolet Family of Dealerships.
An open house-style event was held to thank the contributing donors and educate physicians, colleagues and invited guests on how the equipment will benefit patients.
Getting in and out of a car can often be taken for granted in daily life but after an injury patients need to learn awareness of safe positioning and mobility limitations. The equipment assists the therapists to instruct the patient in a safe, efficient manner.
The simulator’s life-like appearance adds to the realism of training activities with many of the functions of a real vehicle available, such as tilt steering wheel and fully functional passenger and driver doors. It even raises or lowers the height to match each patient’s own vehicle. It was also wrapped with decorative vinyl in the look of a 1950s Chevrolet to keep nostalgic and fun aspect to the therapy.
Prior to this donation, training would be given outside in the parking lot or at front entrance of the hospital which was less than optimal for both patients and staff.
“The ability to have the equipment inside, out of the elements, is a great asset to how our therapists can educate patients. It is a safer environment where patients can work toward more independence after a major injury or illness,” noted Tom Dibadj, PT, DPT, director of Therapy Services at St. Elizabeth’s. “It gives them confidence in their abilities and is also beneficial to the instruction of patients’ caregivers who can practice assisting their loved one transfer in and out of the vehicle in the safest way possible.”
During the open house event, Jack Schmitt spoke on how supporting the donation and installation of the vehicle was a good fit, as his dealership currently neighbors St. Elizabeth’s new location.
“When the first Hospital Sisters arrived from Germany over 140 years ago, they sought out the support of a grateful community to fuel their mission. Today, St. Elizabeth’s Foundation continues this tradition. We are truly blessed to have wonderful friends such as Jack, Evelyn, and the entire Schmitt family. Because of their support, this piece of equipment will benefit the Metro East community for many years to come,” said Dave Garris, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Foundation director.
The Rehabilitation Unit is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities to provide services to adults who have been affected by medical conditions such as stroke, hip fracture and many types of trauma and diseases.
PHOTO: Evelyn Schmitt and Jack Schmitt, owners of Jack Schmitt Family of Dealerships, and Dave Garris, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Foundation director, show off the new Trans-Sit Car Transfer Simulator equipment recently installed and unveiled in the Rehabilitation Unit of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.