Candy Tefertiller
Director of Physical Therapy
Craig Hospital, Englewood, CO

As a certified neurological clinical specialist (NCS) with over 12 years experience I am acutely aware of the value of activity based therapy for recovery after neurological injury or disease and am a strong advocate for these programs.

The use of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) has been a critical element of the activity based therapy program at Craig, to enable the activation of muscles to facilitate patterned movement for people with weak or absent voluntary muscle control. 

Early model FES systems were difficult to use, labor intensive, had patient transfer limitations, and limited the application of this therapy for people with complete SCI. The introduction of the more versatile FES powered RT300, by Restorative Therapies in 2005, gave clinicians a system that was more readily accessible to people with a wider range of neurological disorders. Elimination of the need to transfer from the patients own wheelchair coupled with the compactness of RT300 meant patients had the potential, subject to funding, to continue their therapy programs after discharge from hospital. RT300 also ensured that users of the system could continue their therapy with motor assistance as they built up the strength and endurance of their own muscles.

The Craig Hospital FES program was enhanced in 2011, with the introduction of Restorative Therapies RT600, by a rehabilitation therapy system that combines for the first time weight bearing patterned stepping with power assisted FES.  Hundreds of patients have already benefited from this integrated therapy system. To date the majority of users have been incomplete SCI patients who, following sessions on RT600, report having a greater sense of awareness and activation of their lower leg muscles, and appear to have enhanced walking patterns. While not a gait trainer, RT600 does appear to enhance neurological patterning that result in improved over ground walking in individuals with incomplete SCI.

Patterned learning is vital to re-integrate circuitry in the neurological system for functional recovery to be achieved, and this is the ultimate goal of activity based therapy programs.

Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado is exclusively dedicated to spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation, and research. We have treated more than 28,000 patients since 1956, and we have treated more spinal cord injury patients than any other single facility in the United States; each year we treat patients from 47-50 U.S. States. Craig has been ranked in the Top Ten Rehab Hospitals for 22 consecutive years since the rankings began in 1990.

Our spinal cord injury rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation and research programs are designated by the U.S. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) as Model Systems Centers.

Craig Hospital