Toyota Canada Motor Skills Clinic

Providence Healthcare’s rehabilitation programs prepare people for the activities of daily living when they return to the community. Loss of confidence in doing the activities that we often take for granted can be one of the biggest inhibitors of a successful recovery.

Everyday activities like taking a walk, or hopping into the car to run errands, become major milestones in the recovery process. People are hesitant to jump back into the activities that they were once used to performing for fear of experiencing discomfort or re-injuring themselves.

The Toyota Canada Motor Skills Clinic, made possible through a $300,000 donation from Toyota Canada Inc., was created for inpatients of Providence Hospital’s rehabilitation programs. The clinic authentically recreates key elements of an external streetscape and brings the challenges of the outdoors into a safe, reassuring indoor environment.

Patients work with skilled rehabilitation therapists, in a controlled atmosphere, to learn how to safely manoeuvre in and out of a vehicle. The actual car is essential in the rehabilitation process. It will prepare patients for establishing hands-on techniques for getting in and out of the car with a wheelchair, walker or a leg brace.

Wheelchair-accessible ramp:Crossing the street can be
daunting for someone adjusting to the use of a prosthetic limb, a walker, or a wheelchair. In this corner of the Toyota Canada Motor Skills Clinic, a standard sidewalk leads to a wheelchair-accessible ramp, then to a crosswalk. The ramp helps patients and caregivers alike to become accustomed to maneuvering a wheelchair (or walker) along different surface grades.
Crosswalk and Traffic Light: A crosswalk has been developed in the clinic to help patients become accustomed to leaving a sidewalk to cross the street. A traffic light has been installed with real-world settings that simulate how much time patients will have to cross the street. Settings can be adjusted to either shorten or lengthen the timing. Our goal is to send people home and help prepare them (mentally and physically) to enjoy the activities they once cherished. Being able to get back into a car, for example, represents a return to freedom and independence.
Outdoor Surfaces:The clinic helps patients adjust to traveling in wheelchairs or with walkers on a variety of surfaces. Interlocking brick:This surface is used in parking lots, driveways, plazas. Gravel:This type of 3/4-inch gravel is often seen in rural driveways, on some sidewalks or in construction areas. It takes practice to push a walker or wheelchair on this ‘softer’ surface. Screen gravel:This surface is most often seen in construction areas where a driveway or sidewalk is nearing completion.
Grassy Area with Bench and Table:Therapists help patients learn techniques on how to sit from a standing position/stand from a sitting position from a typical park bench with/without the aid of an armrest.The grassy area, graded to different levels, helps patients adjust to walking on an uneven surface.
Transferring in and out of a vehicle: In the clinic, therapists teach patients how to safely transfer into a vehicle. At left and below: a physiotherapist coaches a patient on how to safely and confidently maneuver into a Toyota Camry LE. Providence Hospital’s focus is on rehabilitating patients so they can return home.

The new Toyota Motor Skills Clinic means that whether it is day or night, raining or snowing outside, rehabilitation will continue safely indoors. Most importantly, it enables our patients to master one of the challenges of independent living in preparation for the return home.