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Walk On is an individually designed intensive activity based rehabilitation program to assist a person with a spinal cord injury to improve and maximise their functional ability and lead a more independent life. The program involves intense, dynamic, weight-bearing exercises all performed out of the wheelchair one-on-one with a qualified Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist. Walk On is a community based program available to people following their discharge from hospital. Walk On clients regularly report significant functional improvements from their involvement in the program which has led to a positive impact upon their quality of life.
Walk On is located in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney
Walk On Brisbane is located at the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association (SWDA) in Bowen Hills. SCIA partners with SWDA to run the Walk On program in Brisbane as well offering students from the University of Queensland and University of Technology, Queensland the opportunity to complete their clinical placement program at Walk On.
Walk On Melbourne is located at Victoria University (VU), Whitten Oval Sporting Complex in Footscray West. SCIA partners with VU to run the Walk On program in Melbourne and also offers a student clinical placement program.
Walk On Perth is located at the Vario Wellness Centre at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Joondalup. SCIA partners with ECU to run the Walk On program in Perth and also offers a student clinical placement program. A PhD scholarship at ECU has been funded by SCIA to add to the mounting body of research in this area.
Walk On Sydney is located at the Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit, The University of Sydney (USYD) at its Lidcombe campus. SCIA partners with USYD to run the program and offers a student clinical placement program. In addition, SCIA has funded a PhD scholarship, under the direction of Professor Glen Davis, Director, Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit to add to the mounting body of research in this area.
Walk On therapists are a group of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists working together to develop the most beneficial program for you. Safety is the number one priority and clients work one-on-one with a therapist supporting them with hands-on assistance throughout the session. The Walk On program is extremely beneficial as a person with a spinal cord injury simply cannot exercise their entire body without significant personalised assistance. Some exercises require hands-on assistance from more than one person and Walk On offers the flexibility to have extra therapists or students assist with exercises as required. Staff undertake intensive spinal cord injury specific training in activity based rehabilitation and are actively involved in continuing education courses and ongoing professional development. Walk On Exercise Physiologists are accredited with ESSA (Exercise and Sports Science Australia) and Physiotherapists registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).
Each client’s individually tailored rehabilitation program is aimed at developing skills necessary to achieve specific functional goals and comprises of two hour sessions up to three times per week at a Walk On facility. Sessions involve strengthening of the core/trunk, upper and lower limbs, whole body coordination, partial or full weight-bearing activities, balance, stability and postural control exercises and gait training and a Walk On therapist assists you with these exercise throughout the session. Walk On has a range of specialised equipment to provide our clients with the best opportunity to improve their functional abilities. Body weight supported treadmill training and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) cycling and walking are included in the Walk On program. We also offer a referral system to other health professionals or specialists as required (eg: Orthotist, Occupational Therapy, Massage, Acupuncture).
Walk On is not a cure for spinal cord injury. The Walk On program aims to improve independent functional abilities through intensive activity based rehabilitation.
Many people have reported significantly increased independence, general health benefits, greater positivity and psychological wellbeing as well as an improved quality of life as a result of their involvement in the Walk On program. Evidence has shown that intensive activity-based training varying from 2 to 3 hours per day, 3 to 5 times per week, promotes benefits in regards to gait, balance and mobility outcomes.
A typical Walk On rehabilitation session is 2 hours in duration.
Most people attend Walk On 3 times per week. However, there are many options and Walk On offers flexibility in the program to accommodate different circumstances, provided the schedule can accommodate your requests.
Once you have completed your hospital rehabilitation program. You also have to obtain a medical clearance from your GP or spinal specialist to explain that you are generally well and in a physically stable condition to commence Walk On and to recommend any modifications that are required to your program. Early intervention is considered advantageous in maximising functional improvement. However, many clients have entered the program a substantial period (even a number of years) post injury and have reported significant benefits from participation in Walk On. Each person works with their Walk On therapist to set individual goals in the early stages of the program and these goals are re-assessed at regular intervals throughout the program.
Yes. If you need assistance with the bathroom or any other personal care whilst at Walk On, you will have to provide your own carer or family member to assist you.
People who have seen the most functional gains have attended Walk On for at least 3-6 months. This allows each individual to be thoroughly assessed and work with the Walk On therapists to develop individual goals and progress and maximise the improvement of their functional ability towards these goals. It also allows the person to maximise the use of the range of specialised exercise equipment available at Walk On facilities. All sessions are two hours and clients are most likely to attend 2 or 3 sessions per week.
As some people are unable to attend a Walk On facility for this length of time, Walk On offers a short term program. The minimum short term program offered is 2 weeks, although a program of 4-6 weeks is recommended. This short term program includes the development of an individualised rehabilitation program with supporting written and visual information for a person to continue once they have returned home.
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is a not for profit organisation and currently Walk On receives no ongoing government funding to support our clients. Due to the hands on nature of our program, working always with at least one Walk On Therapist, the fees are representative of the high quality service we provide. While we endeavour to keep costs to a minimum, the program exists on client fees and SCIA and support partner organisations subsidies. We are constantly striving to reduce client’s costs by seeking government support to meet all or part of the cost of client fees. Your friends and family are welcome to support your participation in Walk On or make a tax deductible donation to the program generally.
All Walk On sessions are 2 hours in duration. Most clients are likely to be scheduled for 3 x 2 hours sessions each week. Clients need to take into account the hourly fee and additional GST component when calculating their monthly cycle program cost.
The program fees are $85 per hour plus GST (totaling $187 per 2 hour session).
If you are attending for a short term program, your initial two weeks totals $2,090 inclusive of GST. This includes the development of an individualised rehabilitation program with supporting written and visual information for a person to continue once they have returned home.
Clients are scheduled over a monthly cycle and payment is required in advance, at the beginning of each cycle via direct debit from a nominated bank account or by credit card. A Direct Debit Payment form is included in the application pack. Other arrangements are possible if a person is funded by an external agency.
Criteria to apply for Walk On include:
- A complete or incomplete spinal cord injury (traumatic or non-traumatic) at any level from C2.
- Ability to breathe independently. Ventilator dependent people are encouraged to contact Walk On to discuss your options for attending the program.
- Be discharged from hospital rehabilitation prior to commencing the program.
- Providing a recent bone density scan and medical clearance from a medical practitioner who has interpreted the bone density scan result. The medical clearance must be specifically for the Walk On program.
There are no age restrictions to attend Walk On. However, please note that Walk On does not specialise in paediatric development. If your child is under 16 years old, Walk On will work with your treating paediatric physician or therapist to develop a suitable intensive activity based program. It is strongly encouraged to contact Walk On to discuss your child’s attendance in the program before you apply.
Once your application pack has been received, the Walk On team will assess your eligibility and will contact you via phone to discuss your place on the waiting list.
Yes. Due to the nature of the Walk On program, most clients attend for at least 3-6 months. As such, availability of new positions in the program are limited. However, Walk On will explore options with you to commence the program as soon as reasonably possible. Please contact Walk On for further information.
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