GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — A $1 million donation will help Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation launch a specialized center focused on recovery treatment for neurological diseases and disorders.
James Klinghoffer, local philanthropist and Longport resident, donated the money to the health provider that will fund the James Klinghoffer Neurorecovery Center, which is slated to open this fall. The money will help pay for advanced robotic technology used to help patients regain mobility.
“I thought, from my own perspective, if I had a stroke and had a spastic arm, what would it be worth to get treatment to help me dress myself again,” said Gabe Staino, Bacharach senior development officer. “Just the idea that I could be independent enough to dress myself, to walk again ... these devices take it to another level.”
Klinghoffer is known for donating money to Shore Medical Center in Somers Point for its James Klinghoffer Emergency Pavilion and the hospital’s Harry and Edith Klinghoffer Pediatric Care Center, along with donations to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic and Cape May, Gilda’s Club and other organizations.
He said he credits his parents, Harry and Edith Klinghoffer, as the inspiration for his charitable donations that support community providers and services.
“I give because my parents were very charitable people and they instilled that value in me,” he said in a statement.
The neurorecovery center will include new devices that use robotic and computer technology.
Staino said the treatment devices will help physical and occupational therapists treat people with stroke, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.
Patients with damage that affects mobility and motor skills in their arms, for example, will put their arm into a robotic mold and hold on to a joystick with their hand, Staino said. The robot will move the patient’s hand or arm in repetitive movements.
Therapists use repetitions to stimulate the corresponding damaged parts of the brain, and in conventional therapy, they can do about 70 to 80 repetitions in one session, Staino said. The robotic devices can do about 400, he said.
“It’s incredible to see therapists and the devices take some of these patients who have severe problems because of disorders and help them regain some of the use of their arms, legs and other areas,” Staino said.
The robotic technology will be showcased at Stockton University’s annual Ability Fair on July 26.
“To have it here in South Jersey, where there’s nothing close to this, is great,” he said. “We’re going to have the best devices for upper and lower extremities all because of Klinghoffer’s generosity.”