Thunder Bay – Family CARE Grant “Brings Gym to ICU Patients”

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – We are learning all the time how exercise – any exercise – in the hospital setting can help patients recover home faster. However, many patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) simply cannot participate in exercise programs in Rehabilitation Services.

“If a patient cannot get out of bed because of weakness or because they are connected to specialized equipment, it’s difficult to come down to the rehab gym,” said Anita Perri, Rehabilitation Team Leader at the Health Sciences Centre.

Healthcare Grants at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Thanks to a Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation / Volunteer Association CARE Grant, the ICU purchased a mobile arm ergometer or “arm bike” that can easily be wheeled into the patient’s room to give them much-needed exercise.

“With this new arm ergometer, we can bring the gym to them,” Perri said.

Student Mike Twigg (right) demonstrates how patients can use the new arm ergometer, purchased with a Family CARE Grant, to get much needed exercise as Mike Paularinne, Advanced Practice Physiotherapist in the ICU looks on.
Student Mike Twigg (right) demonstrates how patients can use the new arm ergometer, purchased with a Family CARE Grant, to get much needed exercise as Mike Paularinne, Advanced Practice Physiotherapist in the ICU looks on.

Mike Paularinne, Advanced Practice Physiotherapist in the ICU, sees firsthand every day how the arm bike helps improve patient care, especially those recovering from surgery or trauma. He said that the arm ergometer provides exercise for patients who have recently been weaned from a ventilator, who have been bedridden for extended periods of time, and/or who are recovering from trauma and other serious injuries.

“Early activity and mobilization especially in patients who are critically ill is crucial to preventing complications such as blood clots, infection, and skin breakdown that can lead to bed sores and pressure ulcers, muscle atrophy, and overall weakness,” Paularinne said.

The arm bike also has foot pedals to easily convert it into a mini-stationary bike to help build leg strength in those patients who need it.

“Whether patients are bedridden, wheelchair bound, or mobile, this arm/foot bike will give patients the opportunity to exercise sooner, get stronger faster, and ultimately home quicker,” Paularinne said.

The Family CARE Grant was designed specifically to fund these types of equipment and projects that make such a big difference to patient care. They are employee-driven, which means that those closest to patient care are able to identify areas of improvement and then get the funding they need to make changes themselves. What makes it extra special is that all funding comes directly from the community – from generous donors like you.

Please help us fund future projects like this by giving to the Family CARE Grant program.

Donate online, visit our Donation Centre, or call us at (807) 345-4673, and make a difference in someone’s health today.

www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca/familycare