Meet Kristina Vaughn, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and board-certified Neurological Clinical Specialist located in Nashville, TN. Kristina has been a practicing clinician for eight years, specializing in neurological rehabilitation for the past four. She currently works at Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute, the outpatient neurorehabilitation program at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

For the last year, Kristina has worked with multiple SCI and TBI patients who receive therapy at Pi Beta Phi and also utilize the Rise&Walk® weekly at the Nashville NeuroGym. The patients who have participated in both programs have noted significant functional improvements. The synergy between cutting-edge technology and traditional rehabilitation methods provides an accelerated path to recovery and elevates patients' quality of life.

Exploring the Rise&Walk Technology:

The Rise&Walk is a 3-in-1 rehabilitation station designed to allow for safe, efficient, and effective walking and balance practice, as well as seated exercise for individuals with neurological and mobility impairments. As the first technology that integrates a synchronous arm swing with repetitive stepping, the Rise&Walk offers a comprehensive, evidence-based solution for patients undergoing neurological rehabilitation. The Rise&Walk is a high-repetition, high-intensity technology that promotes neuroplasticity, promoting better patient outcomes and supporting healthcare providers with safe patient handling and objective data for patient progress. 

Unpacking Kristina's Conventional Therapy Regimen:

Kristina’s approach to rehabilitation at Pi Beta Phi incorporates a variety of low-tech, evidence-based conventional therapy methods to address the unique needs of her patients. Specifically, she implements gait training either overground with appropriate assisted devices or over a treadmill with the option of functional electrical stimulation.  She addresses her patients’ impairments in strength, coordination, motor control, balance, and proprioception through creative, evidence-based treatment strategies; however, she is limited to the more low-tech equipment found in traditional rehabilitation settings.

Kristina’s Observations:

The integration of the Rise&Walk technology into Kristina’s rehabilitation approach has yielded impressive results for her patients. One of her TBI patients has shown remarkable progress. After three months of combined therapies, they have improved their walking distance by 80% and require significantly less assistance and cueing to achieve this walking distance. This significant improvement in their mobility and gait pattern has been described by Kristina as a “drastic change,” highlighting the transformative impact of the Rise&Walk on this user’s rehabilitation journey. Another patient experienced enhanced gait efficiency and cardiovascular endurance, leading to the observation of “walking with less effort.” Kristina states, “The Rise&Walk technology promotes stepping repetition, intensity, and taps into the automaticity of gait with my patients.” “These things are otherwise difficult to achieve with conventional therapy on my own.” These positive outcomes underscore the effectiveness of the Rise&Walk technology in conjunction with Kristina’s expert guidance, demonstrating the potential for this innovative technology to improve the lives of individuals with neurological conditions. 

Assessing the Impact:

Since Kristina’s collaboration with the Rise&Walk, she has been able to refer her patients to a new approach to patient care. This strategic approach has increased the frequency and intensity of treatments, yielding noticeable advancements in their gait speed, endurance, and quality. Kristina emphasizes that the most significant benefit she has observed in her patients using the Rise&Walk is the improvement in their cardiovascular endurance within a safe and controlled environment. Patients can engage in intense, high-repetition training sessions for extended periods, typically lasting 40 - 45 minutes. This extended training time equates to more stepping practice and marked improvements in the quality and consistency of their gait. Kristina’s dedication not only elevates the rehabilitation journeys of her patients but also sets a promising precedent in neurological rehabilitation, showcasing the potential of combining innovative technologies like the Rise&Walk with conventional therapy approaches to create a comprehensive, well-rounded, and effective therapy program.

Watch a video of Kristina sharing her thoughts on the Rise&Walk® here.

November 7, 2023