The addition of a high-tech, super slow treadmill at Taranaki Base Hospital will help speed up the rehabilitation process for Taranaki people recovering from stroke and injury.

Thanks to a donation from the Rotary Club of New Plymouth North, the hospital's Older People's Health and Rehabilitation Ward, which includes the Stroke Unit, now has a specialised treadmill in its gym, and patients are lining up to try it out.

Taranaki District Health Board physiotherapist Gabriella Chitty says a lot of research had gone into sourcing the INNOFIT TR8000i pro series rehabilitation treadmill.

"The treadmill goes extra slow so is able to be used by our rehabilitation patients, such as those who are recovering from strokes. There's lots of evidence for the use of treadmills for rehabilitation for younger and older patients."

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While the ward had a regular treadmill for use in the gym in the past, with the slowest speed of 0.9km/h, it simply did not operate slowly enough to be used in patient recovery.

The new treadmill, which operates at 0.2km/h, allows patients to practise walking and for the physiotherapist to monitor the patient's gait, while also having the option of supporting them via an overhead hoist, Gabriella says. It also enables patients to slowly increase their intensity and repetition of movement in a safe and stable walking environment.

The treadmill also has extended handrails, a suitable load capacity for a variety of patients, appropriate inclines for rehabilitation and a backwards feature.

"We are so grateful to the Rotary Club of New Plymouth North for this donation. The patients have been really excited to try it out and have really enjoyed it. It's been great to see them gaining confidence," Gabriella says.

Rotary Club of New Plymouth North president Joanne Pierce says the treadmill is an important piece of equipment that will help many Taranaki people get on their feet again.

"It's so rewarding when you see people working in the community having the right tools to do their job, and it's helping the wider community in the process."

The club donated $12,000 to the Taranaki Health Foundation, which enabled the purchase of the treadmill and a specialised diagnostic table for the Cardiology Unit.

The Taranaki Health Foundation is the first point of call for people wishing to contribute to health in Taranaki, foundation general manager Bry Kopu says. Fundraising year round, the foundation has a range of projects that focus on patient comfort, wellbeing and support.

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"It's rewarding for a community group to have a purposeful donation. This is a really good example, where the Rotary Club of New Plymouth North has been able to give a generous donation and see the impact it makes on the community."