June 18, 2019
FAIR OAKS, CA–Eskaton, a nonprofit community-based organization believes in the importance of aging well and enhancing the lives of older adults through innovative approaches to health and wellness. Recently, Eskaton Care Center Fair Oaks retrofitted its occupational therapy room with a new piece of rehabilitation equipment—a Chrysler PT Cruiser.
“There are several physical skills that a person may need to relearn through practice after experiencing an illness or injury,” said John Mueggenburg, rehabilitation program manager at Eskaton Care Center Fair Oaks. “Getting in and out of a vehicle is one of these skills.” After someone leaves the hospital and enters skilled nursing, physical therapy helps the person recover, and sometimes finding new ways to complete everyday tasks is necessary.
“Eventually a patient will need to get in a vehicle and be transported home,” said Mueggenburg, an occupational therapist. Eight years before it became a reality, Mueggenburg envisioned this vehicle. He worked closely with Eskaton’s project manager Summer Dales and a local mechanic Greg Sahr of Rock and Road in Loomis, California. Sahr designed a system that allowed a car to lift to specified heights that mimic different makes and models of vehicles.
“This is the only one of its kind,” said Dales. “It’s ironic the acronym of the vehicle I chose is PT, but very fitting.” Dales looks forward to changing the physical therapy industry through this invention.
The PT Cruiser was cut in half and mounted on an electric lift system. It enables a person and their family to practice transferring from a wheelchair or walker, avoiding going outside during the hot summer or windy winter of the Sacramento region. “This innovative technology will better prepare patients and their caregivers; allowing them to go home safely,” added Mueggenburg.