Portable vibration technology helps prevent falls

CELEBRATING A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP between Rocky Knoll, the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation and VibeTech are (from left) Charles Conrardy (President, Rocky Knoll Foundation), Jeff Leismer (founder and CEO, VibeTech), Jesse Brotz (director, Brotz Family Foundation), Adam Payne (administrator, Sheboygan County), Kayla Clinton (administrator, Rocky Knoll), John Brotz (vice president of human resources, Plenco) and Janine Bolz (Life Enrichment Coordinator, Rocky Knoll). – Submitted photo

Rocky Knoll Health Care Center in Plymouth in collaboration with Sheboygan-based VibeTech, has been recognized by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living as a Gold winner in the 2020 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards in the Skilled Care Track’s Innovator of the Year category.

In 2016, Rocky Knoll Health Care Center entered into a partnership with VibeTech by investing in its device that uses vibration to reduce atrophy and pain in low-mobility patients receiving therapy. The Sheboygan County-owned skilled nursing facility now works with VibeTech to develop and measure the effectiveness of modified versions of the vibration device meant to increase the resident populations served.

In 2018, Rocky Knoll staff created a pilot to study how well memory care residents would tolerate the device, which imparts low-intensity vibrations tuned to contract muscles in the legs and low back to simulate standing and walking. The successful pilot study led to a

Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) initiative aimed at reducing falls in this population that is twice as likely to fall as other residents and almost three times as likely to break a hip if they do fall. In 2019, data the group presented at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) annual conference showed a 45-percent reduction in falls over a three-month treatment period versus the previous three months in the first six residents treated.

As a result of the tremendous success with these pilot studies, Rocky Knoll received a grant to develop VibeTech’s portable VibeSitPRO, which uses the same technology without requiring residents to transfer from a wheelchair to get the benefits. Treatments can now be administered by all staff members as well as family members. Moreover, the portable design helps residents isolated by COVID-19 to receive treatments wherever it is most convenient (e.g., in their room, therapy department, exercise gym, etc.) while being disinfected between uses. A prototype is now being tested in conjunction with VibeTech.

In addition to Rocky Knoll’s and VibeTech’s participation, a community-based fall reduction program advisory group was formulated to provide feedback on the design and functionality of the portable device and the associated fall reduction program. The advisory group consists of local aging, dementia and Alzheimer’s organizations and organizations which cater to this population, which include: The Gathering Place, Generations, Home Care Health Services, Sheboygan County Aging & Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC) and Tender Hearts Senior Care.

“With the mission of ‘Innovation with Compassion,’ Rocky Knoll continues to partner with VibeTech in order to provide the Sheboygan County residents residing at Rocky Knoll with better quality of life and care using vibration technology,” Rocky Knoll Administrator Kayla Clinton said.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive national recognition for our partnership with VibeTech to reduce atrophy and pain in our low-mobility residents. We are excited to see the vibration technology evolve and benefit individuals affected with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

VibeTech CEO and Founder Dr. Jeff Leismer says the partnership with Rocky Knoll has helped to advance the impact of vibration technology to the next level.

“Creating technology that truly helps people is extremely rewarding, especially when seeing what the technology has done for Rocky Knoll’s memory care residents and other low mobility residents,” Leismer said.

“We are proud of the new, portable therapeutic vibration technology and fall reduction program our community collaboration has produced, and we are excited to bring our solution to communities across the country to make the largest impact possible on quality of life and cost of care for one of the most difficulty-to-treat populations. That is why the McKnight’s Gold

Award for Innovator of the Year is such a big deal. It helps us get the word out to the senior living industry that our team created a highly effective, novel solution to the large and growing problem of falls that so negatively affects the population the industry serves.

The timing of the award is especially important, as it comes just as VibeTech launches an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise the capital needed to complete product development to bring this important solution to market.”

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