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What is Rehabilitation Engineering?

April 10, 2014

Rehab Engineering is an in-house service to Craig Hospital patients with brain injury or spinal cord injury.

Dave Birkle, Craig Hospital’s Rehabilitation Engineer, in collaboration with Occupational Therapy provide customized solutions to increase independence and quality of life. What this really means is that Dave is a troubleshooting, puzzle-solver who aims to develop designs and solutions that are functional, but also just a little bit challenging.

Dave Birkle, Rehabilitation Engineer

Dave Birkle, Rehabilitation Engineer

“My epiphany was to design solutions for things that patients really want to do, but make it just a little bit difficult – don’t automate it. So the design improves their quality of life as well as expanding their operating envelope. That way they are doing something they want to do, while at the same time doing really great therapy.” – Dave Birkle

In addition to customized solutions, Dave also works with people who are interested in returning to work, particularly those that are interested in returning to a hands-on job or those thinking about pursuing an engineering degree.

The possibilities are endless and unique depending on a person’s strengths and motivation for independence. Keagan Smith, highlighted in the following video, came to Craig thinking that he’d have to completely change the direction of his life. But after visiting Dave in the shop, his perspective changed…

Learn about Dave’s awesome engineering volunteers in our: Volunteer Spotlight