Motor and psychosocial impact of robot-assisted gait training in a real-world rehabilitation setting: A pilot study

Cira Fundarò, Anna Giardini, Roberto Maestri, Silvia Traversoni, Michelangelo Bartolo, Roberto Casale

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In the last decade robotic devices have been applied in rehabilitation to overcome walking disability in neurologic diseases with promising results. Robot assisted gait training (RAGT) using the Lokomat seems not only to improve gait parameters but also the perception of well-being. Data on the psychosocial patient-robot impact are limited, in particular in the real-world of RAGT, in the rehabilitation setting. During rehabilitation training, the Lokomat can be considered an "assistive device for movement". This allowed the use of the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Device Scale- PIADS to describe patient interaction with the Lokomat. The primary aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the psychosocial impact of the Lokomat in an in-patient rehabilitation setting using the PIADS; secondary aims were to assess whether the psychosocial impact of RAGT is different between pathological sub-groups and if the Lokomat influenced functional variables (Functional Independence Measure scale-FIM and parameters provided by the Lokomat itself). Thirty-nine consecutive patients (69% males, 54.0±18.0 years) eligible for Lokomat training, with etiologically heterogeneous walking disabilities (Parkinson's Disease, n = 10; Spinal Cord Injury, n = 21; Ictus Event, n = 8) were enrolled. Patients were assessed with the FIM before and after rehabilitation with Lokomat, and the PIADS was administered after the rehabilitative period with Lokomat. Overall the PIADS score was positive (35.8±21.6), as well as the three sub-scales, pertaining to "ability", "adaptability" and "self-esteem" (17.2±10.4, 8.9±5.5 and 10.1±6.6 respectively) with no between-group differences. All patients significantly improved in gait measure and motor FIM scale (difference after-before treatment values: 11.7±9.8 and 11.2±10.3 respectively), increased treadmill speed (0.4 ± 0.2m/s), reduced body weight support (-14.0±9.5%) and guidance force (-13.1 ± 10.7%). This pilot study indicates that Lokomat, in a real-world in-patient setting, may have a generalised approval, independent of disease, underlining the importance of the psycho-social framework for patients training with assistive robotic-devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0191894
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rehabilitation
  • Robotics


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