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New simulator helps patients on the road to recovery

New simulator helps patients on the road to recovery

PETOSKEY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The road to recovery has a whole new meaning with the help of new technology at McLaren Northern Michigan.

Sylvester Krajniak is recovering from a hip injury.

One of the biggest hardships for many during recovery is learning how to get back into their car.

Now, physical therapists can jack their new simulator up to the height of his SUV, so he can get some practice without going all the way to the parking lot.

“People get nervous about that," said Nicole Nichols, the coordinator of rehab services at McLaren in Petoskey. "How am I going to get to doctors’ appointments? How am I going to get to the bank? How am I going to do the things that I do on a daily basis or things that I have to do? And it can cause people a lot of apprehension before they go home.”

Doctors can adjust the seat, steering wheel and even how far the doors can open to make sure it's as similar as possible to the patient's own car.

“It can build up their confidence level, and train their caregiver how to handle them, how to assist them, how best to get then in and out of the car safely," Nichols said.

Having the simulator right down the hall saves patients, doctors and family members from going outside in the cold to practice.

“We are using it pretty much daily at this point in time," said Dr. Andrea Naylor. "Once patients know it’s there, then they want to get into it sooner rather than later.”

The simulator was given by a donor through the McLaren Foundation to help patients recovering from anything from a broken hip to a stroke.

“It makes our jobs easier every day and it gives hope to patients, helps them get better faster," Naylor said.

The simulation is mainly focused on getting patients in and out of the car, and not actually driving.

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