The Walton Centre has become the first NHS hospital in the UK to use an innovative ‘tilt table’ for patients needing immediate rehabilitation, after an incredible fundraising campaign by The Walton Centre Charity.

The Erigo tilt table, provided by Summit Medical and Scientific, is an adjustable table that has robotic movement capability, designed to mobilise patients with circulatory, neurological, or musculoskeletal conditions. Patients who come to the hospital for hyper acute rehabilitation will now be able to benefit from this new technology.

The new apparatus will be used by patients staying on Lipton Ward, the specialist Trust’s hyperacute rehabilitation Unit.

Complex Rehab Physiotherapist and Clinical Lead Emily Low said: “As the title ‘hyperacute’ suggests, patients can be transferred straight here from ITU conscious or minimally conscious due to their head injury, with or without breathing and feeding tubes, sometimes healing from broken bones and spinal injuries. In these cases, immobility is common due to their neurological damage, but can be made worse by changes in the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems. Theoretically these can be minimised or even in some cases prevented by early mobilisation.

“This fantastic new innovation will enable us to combine physiotherapy interventions and allow us to manage patients in different positions, controlling the amount of physical and environmental stimulation they experience. Most excitingly, the robotics in the table will allow patients to replicate a walking motion. We are also looking forward to utilising the table for further research into early rehabilitation in traumatic brain injury and with minimally conscious patients. Ultimately, we are committed to provide this small but very complex group of patients the best treatment available.

“I can’t thank all of the fundraisers enough for supporting this campaign. It’s going to make a huge difference to future patients needing intense therapy.”

James Gilbert and his family were inspired to fundraise for Lipton Ward last year, after recovering there after a bleed on the brain. He said: “For two months I was pretty much unable to move out of bed. But with help from the incredible physiotherapy team they were able to get me back on my feet again. I discovered that the charity had a fund for rehabilitation and that they wanted to purchase new tech for the ward, so I had to get involved. The family and I got to work and did a charity walk in the Cheshire countryside and drummed up support on social media, raising £16,000!

“The Lipton Ward team gave me so much, we all wanted to give back and show our gratitude. We are forever grateful for the hard work they put into making me well again.”

Head of Fundraising at The Walton Centre Charity Madeleine Fletcher said: “All of the fundraisers who contributed to the campaign to buy the new equipment are incredible people, and we’re so grateful for all of their support. Special mention to all of those who attended last year’s Jan Fairclough Ball too, which raised a large portion of the funds needed to purchase the equipment. Seeing James not only on his feet, but fundraising for the hospital is fantastic, and what he has contributed to will mean cutting-edge therapy for patients right at the beginning of their rehabilitation journey.”