Most people take walking for granted. We stroll down the sidewalk, casually hop up and down curbs, and scan the second floor as we walk up stairs. Sounds easy, we do it every day. However, for people who have an acquired brain injury, these simple activities become obstacles. Resulting impairments may include balance deficits, decreased strength, visual impairments, and altered proprioception (the ability to sense the position, location, orientation, and movement of the body and its parts), which makes navigating uneven surfaces very challenging, if not initially impossible. To help improve a patient’s mobility at home and in the community, as well as help increase confidence level, Pate has constructed an outdoor mobility course at our Brinlee Creek Ranch location. The outdoor mobility course allows patients to confront, and master, these obstacles in a safe and therapeutic environment.
The idea for the mobility course grew over several years as the plan was put in place to take advantage of the environment of the Ranch’s 96 acres. Our building structure did not allow for a standard indoor staircase, and our current built-in, five-step staircase was a good start, but not “real life”. The new mobility course includes 12 steps, a simulated curb, and three pits of various uneven surfaces – sand, pebbles, and stamped concrete. These surfaces are examples of what a patient might encounter when shopping, going out to eat, or attending a sporting event. Another advantage of the outdoor course is that it promotes generalization of skills learned in the more controlled environment of the treatment gym.
We are very excited about this new addition and looking forward to adding a Phase 2 which will include a sports court and covered sitting area.