In December of 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued the first-ever national policy for the procurement of exoskeleton technology for all qualifying veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). Across the United States, paralyzed veterans have access to this groundbreaking technology, which allows them to stand and walk again.
In 2016, we are seeing the policy come to fruition with veterans across the country undergoing evaluations and the necessary training to take home their own exoskeleton systems. The VA’s goal is to provide every veteran who meets the physical qualifications, access to exoskeleton technology. Generally, users need to have full function of their arms, hands, and shoulders. Other factors, such as bone density and range of motion are also considered.
How to Undergo Evaluation for the System
Veterans with spinal cord injuries are strongly encouraged to contact their local VA hospital, VA rehabilitation center or ReWalk Robotics, the leading manufacturer of exoskeletons, directly at www.rewalk.com/contact or (508) 251-1154 EXT 741 to undergo initial assessment for qualification to use the system.
How an Exoskeleton System Works
An exoskeleton provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with SCI to stand upright and walk. The system provides user-initiated mobility through the integration of a wearable brace support, a computer-based control system and motion sensors. The weight of the device is not felt by the user; instead, the device weight rests on the footplates inside the user’s shoes. The user will stand up and bear his/her own weight with the support of the exoskeleton.
More information about this life changing policy can also be found here.