New Hope for Stroke Survivors

Richmond, Virginia – Debra Owens is one of the millions of Americans learning that surviving a stroke does not necessarily mean living a life diminished by physical handicaps. May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and Richmond-based Sheltering Arms is using the occasion to highlight the new technologies improving the lives of those living in the aftermath of a stroke.

“No one expects to have a stroke, particularly when you’re as young as I am,” said Ms. Owens, who suffered a stroke at the age of 46. “I’ve learned, however, that it doesn’t have to slow you down.”

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, but 80% of those who have a stroke survive the experience. Each year, there are 600,000 new stroke survivors in the U.S. who are working to regain skills such as walking or picking up a glass. Fortunately, new high-tech tools are available to rehabilitation professionals to help them re-master these seemingly everyday tasks.

“It’s truly amazing how far we’ve come in just a short time,” said Dr. Gregory Leghart, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctor at Sheltering Arms’ Hospital on the Memorial Regional Medical Center campus in Mechanicsville. “It wasn’t very long ago at all that the tools available to rehabilitation professionals everywhere consisted of things like canes, walkers, and hard plastic braces. Richmond is truly on the cutting edge of stroke recovery technology.”

New tools currently in use at Sheltering Arms’ nine inpatient and outpatient facilities include:

  • The NESS H200 and L300 devices from Bioness, which send electrical signals directly to the muscles of the wearer, reducing atrophy and spasms while increasing range of motion
  • SaeboFlex, a wearable device that can help patients grasp and hold an object even if they lost the use of a hand as much as 20 years ago
  • REO Therapy, an innovative robot-assisted program that utilizes repetitive exercise

Sheltering Arms is highlighting these and other rehabilitation advances in a series of educational events during Stroke Awareness Month. On May 15, 2008 at the Science Museum of Virginia, Sheltering Arms will present S.O.S. (Strategies, Opportunities, Success), a free community education seminar that will teach attendees about staying emotionally healthy and physically active after a stroke. The demand for this seminar has proven to be so high that all of the limited spots available filled weeks in advance. As a result, Sheltering Arms is planning an identical event to be held on June 19th.

For information on the June event and to reserve a spot, please call (804) 764-5275.

Sheltering Arms is also holding a number of events in May for Richmond’s healthcare community:

  • The Show and Tech event on May 8 on the St. Francis Medical Center campus will highlight for healthcare professionals the many new technological advancements in stroke rehabilitation
  • The Richmond Stroke Symposium 2008 on May 16 will be the first event of its kind in Richmond, and will provide doctors and medical professionals with updates in stroke prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation
  • An educational seminar and breakfast on May 21 will educate healthcare case managers on working with patients experiencing post-stroke depression

Sheltering Arms is also announcing that it is renaming its stroke recovery program. The new name, “Sheltering Arms Network for NeuroRecovery,” highlights the organization’s dedication to the Power to Overcome physical limitations due to stroke and other neurological injuries, diseases, and disorders.

For more information on stroke recovery or the upcoming events, please call the contact numbers at the top of this release.

About Sheltering Arms
Sheltering Arms helps patients find the Power to Overcome the obstacles of illness and injury with a complete range of physical rehabilitation and wellness services. To learn more about Sheltering Arms’ two hospitals and seven outpatient clinics, visit, or call 1-877-56-REHAB.