More moti­vat­ed patients through dig­i­tal ther­a­py for MS

Sauer­land­klinik – Neu­ro­log­i­cal Spe­cial Clin­ic for Mul­ti­ple Sclerosis

More time, more rep­e­ti­tions, more moti­va­tion: Dig­i­tal ther­a­py for MS in use at Sauer­land­klinik Hachen

In the acute neu­ro­log­i­cal clin­ic in the Sauer­land region of North Rhine-West­phalia spe­cial­iz­ing in mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, patients are cared for in six spe­cial­ist areas. These include phys­io­ther­a­py, phys­i­cal ther­a­py, occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­py, speech ther­a­py, music ther­a­py, and nursing.

In phys­io­ther­a­py, Gabriele Buch­stein and her team offer patients a ther­a­py con­cept tar­get­ed to mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis. This includes estab­lished ther­a­pies on a neu­ro­phys­i­o­log­i­cal basis (KG CNS) com­bined with the most mod­ern forms of treat­ment. “The com­bi­na­tion of these estab­lished ther­a­pies with new-age inter­ven­tions such as spe­cif­ic tread­mill train­ing, ther­a­peu­tic climb­ing is very effec­tive in sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies in recent years,” the clin­ic web­site states.

These mod­ern inter­ven­tions also include offers from the field of dig­i­tal move­ment ther­a­py and tel­ere­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, where­by reha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices can also be offered across exist­ing spa­tial and tem­po­ral dis­tances (cf. Fraun­hofer Fokus: Report Tel­ere­ha­bil­i­ta­tion 2015).

Gabriele Buchstein

Gabriele Buch­stein

Head Phys­io­ther­a­pist Sauer­land­klinik Hachen, Germany

We have sig­nif­i­cant time sav­ings with Pix­for­mance. After a mere 30-minute brief­ing, patients can train inde­pen­dent­ly under super­vi­sion. This means that more patients can be cared for at the same time and, for exam­ple, doc­u­men­ta­tion can even be done along the way.”

Telerehabilitation in use in the physiotherapy department of the Sauerlandklinik Hachen: You can see a therapy room with various equipment, including the Pixformance station in the foreground.
Telerehabilitation in action at the Sauerlandklinik Hachen: A patient wearing a yellow jacket and black shorts exercises in front of the Pixformance ward

Logo Sauerlandklinik Hachen



Clin­ic Profile
Loca­tion Hachen, North Rhine-Westphalia
Found­ed 1964
Main Focus Mul­ti­ple Sclerosis
Patient Capac­i­ty 125 beds
Ther­a­py Direction Gabriele Buch­stein
More Info www​.sauer​land​klinik​-hachen​.de


In stan­dard­ized phys­io­ther­a­peu­tic admis­sion ther­a­py, patients first define treat­ment goals togeth­er with the respon­si­ble ther­a­pist. This is fol­lowed by the cre­ation of an indi­vid­ual treat­ment plan in con­sul­ta­tion with the patient. At this point, pos­si­ble appli­ca­tions from dig­i­tal ther­a­py for MS are also incor­po­rat­ed into the ther­a­py plan. This includes inten­sive phys­io­ther­a­py appli­ca­tions daily.

To expand the range of phys­io­ther­a­py and dig­i­tal move­ment ther­a­py and offer patients addi­tion­al train­ing moti­va­tion, Buch­stein and her col­leagues decid­ed to use Pix­for­mance last year. 

After suc­cess­ful­ly test­ing the reha­bil­i­ta­tion equip­ment, two of the train­ing sta­tions were pur­chased. Cur­rent­ly, about 30 patients in Hachen are exer­cis­ing in front of the Pix­for­mance sta­tion. The patients have dif­fer­ent walk­ing abil­i­ties. The only pre­req­ui­site is a cer­tain degree of mobil­i­ty, i.e., peo­ple with­out any trunk con­trol or too much paral­y­sis can­not use the equip­ment. How­ev­er, train­ing in a wheel­chair is not a prob­lem. In addi­tion to the more than 350 func­tion­al exer­cis­es that can be cus­tomized, the clin­ic has also worked with Pix­for­mance to devel­op its exer­cis­es for the sta­tion, which are opti­mal­ly tai­lored to the clin­i­cal pic­ture and the needs of MS patients.

Inde­pen­dence for the patients, relief for the therapists

After a short brief­ing, patients can already train inde­pen­dent­ly on the rehab sports equip­ment. A con­tact per­son is always near­by but can also devote time to oth­er patients or documentation.

Any age group can also use the Pix­for­mance sta­tions. That’s great that so many patients can ben­e­fit from the train­ing as long as their cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties allow. And by sav­ing time, it’s ulti­mate­ly not only the patients who ben­e­fit, but also us effec­tive­ly,”, Buch­stein says.

The deci­sion was made last year in favor of an inno­v­a­tive, dig­i­tal device like the one from Pix­for­mance is no coin­ci­dence. After all, the top­ic of dig­i­tal­iza­tion plays a sig­nif­i­cant role at the Sauer­land Clin­ic. Sev­er­al mod­ern devices have already been pur­chased. The phys­io­ther­a­peu­tic man­ag­er also men­tioned the study sit­u­a­tion on the inter­nal and exter­nal focus of attention.

Unlike inter­nal atten­tion­al focus, where you guide the patient in per­sona, for exam­ple, telling them, ‘Raise your arm’ and giv­ing them assis­tance, pix­for­mance train­ing is an exter­nal atten­tion­al focus.”

The patient receives the exer­cise instruc­tion exter­nal­ly through the ward. There­fore, he is no longer as focused on his own body but pays more atten­tion to the exer­cise per­for­mance in the Pix­for­mance Sta­tion. That makes for a more sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment effect.

It’s like play­ing games, and some­times you don’t notice how time pass­es either. And that’s sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly based, that the move­ments are thus per­formed more reflex­ive­ly, and you improve sig­nif­i­cant­ly,”, Buch­stein says of the ben­e­fit of dig­i­tal move­ment ther­a­py for MS through Pixformance.


Dig­i­tal ther­a­py for MS leads to more rep­e­ti­tions and faster ther­a­py success

Gabriele Buch­stein sees anoth­er great advan­tage in the notice­able moti­va­tion of the patients through the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­stant­ly increas­ing the num­ber of rep­e­ti­tions. Because it has been sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly proven: the train­ing effect increas­es sig­nif­i­cant­ly with the num­ber of repetitions.

The great thing about Pix­for­mance is: that the sta­tion encour­ages patients to do more rep­e­ti­tions. The patients are enthu­si­as­tic and very moti­vat­ed, which admit­ted­ly is not often the case. Of course, we as ther­a­pists also ben­e­fit from this, as it helps the patients per­form their exer­cis­es bet­ter and more purposefully.”

The dig­i­tal rehab sports equip­ment sup­ports the patients to more inde­pen­dence and move­ment. This is also where the Pix­for­mance app can come in. How­ev­er, this has only been used spo­rad­i­cal­ly in the MS spe­cial­ty clin­ic so far. How­ev­er, Gabriele Buch­stein expressed con­fi­dence in talk­ing to us that this could change in the future: “Of course, it would be nice to see whether patients con­tin­ue to exer­cise at home. So it’s a future goal to con­tin­ue to care for patients at home even after their stay in the hospital.”

Own exer­cis­es for the spe­cial needs of MS patients

Togeth­er with the team of ther­a­pists in Hachen, Pix­for­mance has devel­oped some new exer­cis­es. Thus, in addi­tion to the 350+ exer­cis­es from the Pix­for­mance exer­cise cat­a­log, addi­tion­al train­ing sequences are avail­able for the patients. These have been spe­cial­ly devel­oped for the dif­fer­ent stages of mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis. For exam­ple, more exer­cis­es are now avail­able in a sit­ting position.

Spezielle Übungen für die Sauerlandklinik Hachen: So können auch die Patienten im Sitzen an der Pixformance Station trainieren

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