Somers puts innovative rehabilitation center TrainM in the spotlight – Belgium

(Belga) On the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Flemish Minister of Equal Opportunities Bart Somers (Open Vld) visited TrainM, an innovative rehabilitation center in the heart of Antwerp. Somers wants to draw more attention to TrainM because with the available technology it can help people with brain injuries make progress that is impossible in the regular rehabilitation circuit.

TrainM has now been in existence for five years and in that time has grown into a real European hub of robotics, sensors and VR for rehabilitation purposes. “We do not develop the devices ourselves, but we are in close contact with the manufacturers to give them feedback,” says head physiotherapist Tessa De Winter. “We can offer patients a total package here with the latest and best techniques. The people who end up here are often people who have ‘rehabilitated’ elsewhere.” TrainM’s target group consists of people with congenital brain injuries as well as people who have had an accident or suffer from a progressive disease. About half of the current patients come from abroad. “On the one hand because there are only a few places in Europe where you can find so much technology together, on the other hand because, for example, Dutch patients are sometimes reimbursed for these types of therapies and Belgians do not,” says De Winter. “For the Belgian, the part of physiotherapy has been reimbursed, but not the robotics and that is of course the most expensive part. That is a shame, because everyone who comes here makes some progress.” Minister Somers sees initiatives such as TrainM as a way to offer people with disabilities more opportunities to participate fully in society. “The barriers have to be lowered everywhere, literally and figuratively,” he says. “An effort that we must all make together. Flanders, our local authorities, fellow citizens and innovative frontrunners such as TrainM.” (Belgium)

TrainM has now been in existence for five years and in that time has grown into a real European hub of robotics, sensors and VR for rehabilitation purposes. “We do not develop the devices ourselves, but we are in close contact with the manufacturers to give them feedback,” says head physiotherapist Tessa De Winter. “We can offer patients a total package here with the latest and best techniques. The people who end up here are often people who have ‘rehabilitated’ elsewhere.” TrainM’s target group consists of people with congenital brain injuries as well as people who have had an accident or suffer from a progressive disease. About half of the current patients come from abroad. “On the one hand because there are only a few places in Europe where you can find so much technology together, on the other hand because, for example, Dutch patients are sometimes reimbursed for these types of therapies and Belgians do not,” says De Winter. “For the Belgian, the part of physiotherapy has been reimbursed, but not the robotics and that is of course the most expensive part. That is a shame, because everyone who comes here makes some progress.” Minister Somers sees initiatives such as TrainM as a way to offer people with disabilities more opportunities to participate fully in society. “The barriers have to be lowered everywhere, literally and figuratively,” he says. “An effort that we must all make together. Flanders, our local authorities, fellow citizens and innovative frontrunners such as TrainM.” (Belgium)

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