Young entrepreneurs develop staircase aid [Occupational Therapist magazine issue 2 - 2017]

Young entrepreneurs develop a stair climbing aid. They themselves have grandparents who have difficulty climbing stairs. This prompted three young entrepreneurs in Trondheim to develop a new aid that makes it possible to climb stairs safely and maintain important physical functions.

Assistive devices are essential for many people's daily lives. The aim of such devices is to improve the daily lives of those affected and maintain their level of function.

In Germany, thousands of people suffer injuries from falling down stairs every year. The over 65s suffer the most falls. In 2013, around 4000 people died due to falling down stairs (source: nullbarriere.de). In Trondheim, three young entrepreneurs focused on this problem and developed a stair climbing aid that enables safe training during rehabilitation.

Contents

Many falls

Eirik Medbø, Halvor Wold and Ingrid Lonar were students at the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) when they began their work in the fall of 2011.

"We spoke to InnoMed, a national competence network for needs-oriented innovation in the healthcare sector, among others. Here we received input that many people fall on stairs, both older people and people who have problems with balance due to illness or who are rehabilitating after fractures, for example," says Halvor Wold.

Three young students finding a solution to the problem of elderly people climbing stairs may not be the most obvious candidates, but it was a problem that affected all three of them.

"Both Eirik and I had experience with grandparents who had problems with climbing stairs. We spoke to many different people and agencies. From potential sufferers to occupational and physiotherapists, doctors and council staff. The feedback we received was that this was a problem that needed a solution."

toprostep team
TOPRO Step Team
Animasjon Toprostep 1 - Photo Øyvind Strand Endal
TOPRO Step stair assistant

Training and safety

The target group for stair assistance also includes those who have stairs at home and have difficulty using them. Previous solutions have consisted of converting the house or apartment or installing a stairlift. But this is not a good solution, according to Medbø and Wold.

"Lifts and stairlifts are expensive and unsightly and also make people more passive as they remove a source of daily activity."

The three recruited two other students, and together they spent five years developing the TOPRO Step stair climber, which has been distributed by sales partner Hepro since 2016 and is now in use in several municipalities.

"We are very pleased that Hepro has also seen the potential to enable those affected to be more active and cope with daily life. Thanks to this cooperation, the TOPRO Step stair climber is now also available throughout the country," says Eirik Medbø.

Coping with everyday life

Stair training is used in conjunction with rehabilitation and is a good form of exercise to maintain leg function. However, there is a big difference between training during rehabilitation and climbing stairs alone at home. Many people opt for a stairlift or have to move their bed into the living room.

"We have seen that a stairlift is not always the right solution for people who can still walk a little. It makes the person concerned more passive and makes it more difficult to maintain leg function. Our focus was on enabling the person affected to climb the stairs in a safe and easy way, thus keeping them active," explains Wold.

The TOPRO Step stair climber has now taken on a life of its own, but the entrepreneurs are still out and about visiting many of the installations and teaching installers around the country. The AssiTech team will not stop there, however, and is working on clever new solutions to make it easier for people to continue living at home.

Good functionality

Occupational therapist in Skjærvøy municipality Karin Hennie Meilandstind saw a Facebook advertisement for the TOPRO Step stair climber and read more about the product on the homepage.

"I immediately saw that this could be an aid with good functionality. We have a lot of customers who have problems with stairs, and at the time I was working with a customer who had balance problems on stairs. The risk of falling was high. Without help, the patient could not use the stairs. We thought a stairlift was the only option, but when I found out about the stairlift, we decided it was worth a try. The processing and delivery time was short and Halvor Wold from the company came personally to install the TOPRO Step stairlift. We immediately realized that this was a very good alternative to a stairlift. It helps the person concerned to maintain and improve their walking function. If we had installed a stairlift, I would have contributed to reducing the patient's functional ability and in the long term would have left this person worse off. The customer is very satisfied and feels very safe."

Occupational therapist Karin Hennie Meilandstind from Skjærvøy municipality

Climbing stairs without worry

Leiv Reiakvan lives in Naustdal. He has had the stair climber since August 2016.

"This is a fantastic help for me. I wouldn't be able to go up or down the stairs without help. It was my physiotherapist who recommended that I try it out. The process went very quickly and I thought if it works as it should, it will be a good help. The stair aid is fitted to two staircases. Along the staircase from the first floor up to the living room and on a staircase up to the kitchen. Now I can climb stairs without any problems and whereas before I always used my right leg because of problems with my left side, I now use my left leg much more. The stairs give me extra exercise. My 92-year-old father-in-law also benefits from the stair climber when he visits and praises it highly."

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To carry out an on-site inspection and receive a quote, make an appointment with us. Once you have accepted the quote, we will carry out the installation, which usually only takes a few hours. .

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TOPRO Step is TÜV-tested and certified and meets all functional and safety requirements.

Adaptable to your staircase

TOPRO Step is designed so that it can be easily adapted to your staircase. It can be installed on straight stairs, curved stairs and stairs with a landing.

Fits perfectly in any home

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We are happy to advise you

TOPRO Step Expert
+47 902 931 00
Monday - Friday
08:00 - 16:00 o'clock.

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