These questions and answers are designed to help clients, prospective clients, and their families better understand the Push to Walk program and how it may benefit them.
Q.When does a person with paralysis begin a program with Push to Walk?
A.Determining when to join our program depends on individual circumstances. We recommend that anyone who is interested, but unsure if this is the program for them, contact us directly. For those with spinal cord injuries (SCI), we recommend beginning our program directly after the conclusion of outpatient services so that the progress that was achieved in therapy is not lost. As for those with multiple sclerosis (MS), starting a program at Push to Walk should begin when their doctor recommends it to be appropriate. Lastly, any person with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who would like to start one of our programs may begin when their body is capable of physical activity, though we still recommend consulting your doctor first.
Q.How is what Push to Walk offers different from Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT)?
A.Our program is like an intensive gym workout, done completely out of the wheelchair, with one-on-one attention from a trainer for the entire session. It is in no way a substitute for rehabilitative therapies like Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, which are absolutely necessary after paralysis. Our program is key to maintaining and improving upon the gains made during previous rehab sessions.
Q.How is a Push to Walk program different from having a personal trainer at a regular gym?
A.Our trainers are certified in methods shown to work with people who have spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, and other forms of paralysis. They have nationally recognized certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and participate in continuing education and specialized courses. Our gym is entirely accessible to people with paralysis; many workout gyms are difficult to navigate in a wheelchair, don’t always have wheelchair accessible machines and don’t usually have staff knowledgeable in helping a person with paralysis.
Q.How does a person with paralysis begin exercising at Push to Walk?
A.Potential clients must complete an application packet. Once received and reviewed, a free two- hour initial evaluation is scheduled.
Q.What progress can a client expect to make working with Push to Walk?
A.Every client is different. In general, clients can expect to see a difference in strength, particularly in their core, which will make activities of daily life easier. Goals are created for clients based on their capabilities. For example, if a client is not able to sit in his chair with proper posture, we will focus on improving the way he sits by performing exercises specific to sitting upright. We also practice gait training using walkers or the weight assisted treadmill system. The level of injuries/diagnoses and stages of our clients vary, but when possible, we add a locomotor training component to each workout, which we modify according to their capabilities.
Q.What equipment is used?
A.Our gym has state-of-the art equipment including the RT300 FES bike, weight-assisted treadmill, Keiser Infinity performance trainer, SCIFIT arm cycle, Total Gym 26000, EZ Stand Glider, spin bike, hip/glute machine, RT 200 FES Recumbent Elliptical, RT600 Step & Stand, GHS II Walker, parallel bars, lift walker, and an adductor machine. A complete list of equipment is described in Our Gym page.
In addition to our equipment, hands-on and manual training are implemented to individualize the proper stimulation to each one of our clients. This allows the trainer to receive direct feedback from and respond accordingly to the client’s body.
Q.How does Push to Walk make their services affordable to clients?
A.Workouts at Push to Walk are generally not covered by insurance. Clients must pay out of pocket for each exercise workout. However, we make every effort to assist clients in submitting invoices for insurance reimbursement, and providing documentation if needed. We will also assist with Worker’s Comp coverage if an injury was sustained on the job. We strive to keep the cost down as much as possible. Client fees cover approximately 70% of operating expenses (rent, utilities, salaries, etc.), and Push to Walk has chosen to make up the balance through fund raising and grant writing. Since our opening in 2007, our Annual Golf Outing, Casino Night, and Beefsteak have helped offset costs for our program. Team Push to Walk’s participation in The NJ Marathon has also raised funds, most of which has been for the Client Scholarship Fund helping those in financial need. Individual donations and other fund raising efforts are a necessary and important component of Push to Walk’s program each and every year.
Q.Do other organizations provide services that are similar to Push to Walk?
A.While there are excellent medical facilities in the metropolitan area, there are no other specialized gyms for people with SCI, MS, TBI and other forms of paralysis in this region. People travel long distances to come to our program because there is nothing else like this in a very large geographical area.
Q.How many clients does Push to Walk serve?
A.On average, we have 65 clients participating in our exercise program in our gym once or twice a week. Since opening our doors in 2007, we have served more than 300 clients and counseled at least 500 individuals and families on how to address a variety of issues related to living with paralysis.