Car transfer simulator helps patients on their road to recovery

Mile Bluff’s Rehabilitation Services Department is riding a little smoother these days, thanks to the purchase of a car transfer simulator. The equipment allows patients to practice getting in and out of a car during therapy sessions at Fair View Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

Getting in and out of a car is something many individuals take for granted. After a person loses functional mobility due to stroke, brain or spinal cord injury, amputation, joint replacement or other conditions, it is an activity that needs to be practiced and re-learned. It is important for patients to gain confidence in their ability to get in and out of a car, while learning to also safely position themselves during transfer so they protect any surgical wounds they may have.

The car transfer simulator is designed to provide a safe and convenient alternative to parking lot car transfer training sessions. The simulator allows patients to learn and practice car transfer skills in the year-round comfort and safety of an indoor setting.

“In the past, family members would have to bring a vehicle to practice transfers outside with the patient,” commented Marlene Rosenberg, Director of Mile Bluff’s Rehabilitation Services Department. “Sometimes, due to limited family availability, the first opportunity to practice was on the day the patient was scheduled to go home.”

With the simulator, getting in and out of a vehicle can be practiced during the patient’s day-to-day therapy sessions. The car simulator itself is real-to-life with doors on both sides. Patients can practice entering and exiting as a driver or passenger. The simulator has adjustable seats and seat belts, locks and a steering wheel. The equipment can even be adjusted for height to simulate a car, sports utility vehicle, truck or other mode of transportation. This helps provide an accurate representation of the vehicle the patient will be using.

“Our occupational therapists have also been able to use the car to help patients simulate putting groceries in and taking them out,” added Marlene. “The car simulator has been a huge addition to our department, and we are already seeing the positive impact it is making with our patients.”