A stroke patient recovers with the aid of a TRAM

| December 2018

In the summer we shared a blog post about the use of Therabands with the TRAM from Linda Rusiecki, a physical therapist at the Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids. Watch Janette Tazzia and Linda Rusiecki tell about Janette’s recovery from a stroke that left her partially paralyzed.



Janette Tazzia
My name is Janette Tazzia. I’m currently sixty-one years old and I run a landscape business.

March 25th, 2016, I was at home on the phone and I started talking funny. And I was having a stroke, so they brought me to the hospital and took me to a different hospital for the stroke patients. And then I came back here after five days and then I came to rehab. As soon as I got here they started putting me on the big trapeze machine with the belts and harnesses and hooked me up to do therapy, but it was quite cumbersome to do all that; it took so much time of your therapy time. So, after that they had gotten the Rifton TRAM and they said, “Let’s try you on the Rifton.”

Linda Rusiecki, DPT, CBIS
Well, it was very interesting that we had the TRAM in our facility at that time, because we had a patient named Janette Tazzia who had a very severe stroke that completely paralyzed the left side of her body. And she was very motivated. She was very determined to get back to walking. So she came in and started using the device and started making great gains.

Janette Tazzia
They put me on the Rifton and it was much quicker set up time with the Rifton and it just made such a huge difference. Obviously you can be short, you can be tall, you can be heavy, big or small and the Rifton just comes right along, picks you up, harnesses you much quicker than the other mechanism.

And then my ability to walk increased quite quickly after that. The speed to get in it, the ability to maneuver it and let you do the walking. It takes the weight off your body which makes a big difference – not that I’m big, but even just to elevate me a bit. My foot was turned out to the left, so we used the machine and we tied my foot to the machine, so it would walk straight. And I was walking in no time.

I was here for a month and by the time I left the hospital I could walk out on my own with just a little assistance; elbow assistance. I could walk fine by myself. My arm was still in a sling.

Linda Rusiecki
Janette has now returned to running her landscaping business. When she left our facility, she was able to walk with no cane and no walker. She had initially gotten an ankle foot orthotic to stabilize her knee and ankle, but all of her strength came back in that left knee and ankle and she was actually able to give us her AFO because she didn’t need it anymore. Now she’s back to enjoying everything she loves in life. She had her stroke in April. She spent June hiking through the Tetons. And that is what she was able to do, because we had access to this technology, which was really really cool.

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