Simulated car teachers patients how to get in and out of car again as the go through rehab.

Car Transfer Simulator Helps Patients on the Road to Recovery

The inpatient rehabilitation program at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center is riding a little smoother these days, thanks to the generosity of the hospital Auxiliary in Williamsburg, who recent purchased a Car Transfer Simulator for the hospital. This simulator allows patients to practice getting in and out of a car and finding the best position as they get ready for life outside of the hospital.

The rehab gym at Sentara Williamsburg has many of the familiar tools associated with rehabilitating patients, but it is also equipped with the tools of daily living – a full complement of kitchen equipment, a washing machine, a computer and now a car simulator.
“Our goal is to get patients back to the activities of daily life,” said Rita Wade, RN, the orthopedic patient navigator at Sentara Williamsburg. “We try to ease them back into familiar situations that once may have been easy, but are now much more daunting after surgery or illness.”

Getting into and out of a car is something many patients take for granted before losing functional mobility due to stroke, brain or spinal cord injury, amputation, joint replacement or other conditions. It is important that patients gain confidence getting in and out of a car and they need to learn safe positioning to protect their surgical wounds.

“The ability to get into and out of cars is so important and we are grateful for the support of our Auxiliary in providing our program with such a valuable tool,” Wade added.

The car simulator itself is real to life with doors on both sides to practice entering and exiting the driver side or the passenger side of car. It has adjustable seats and seat belts, locks, and a steering wheel. The car can be adjusted for height to simulate a car, sports utility vehicle, truck or other mode of transportation to present an accurate representation of the vehicle the patient will be using.

The equipment cost $12,000 and was purchased by the hospital auxiliary in support of the rehab department at Sentara Williamsburg.

“We look for opportunities to impact patient care in a meaningful way when we make our funding decisions,” said Marty Jones, Auxiliary president. “This simulation car will have use for a wide variety of patients and we already see the positive impact it is making.”