News and Events

Fitness Equipment Placed in Isolation Rooms for Children Undergoing Bone Marrow Transplantation

Publication Date: 5/12/2022 1:30 AM

“The exercise equipment will enable children undergoing bone marrow transplantation to be as physically active as their conditions will allow, helping them to stay busy and improve their health,” notes Dr. Shifra Ash, Director, the Joan & Sanford Weill Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Dalia Natan receives the new fitness equipment. Top Left: Dr. Shifra Ash. Photography: Rambam HCC.Dalia Natan receives the new fitness equipment. Top Left: Dr. Shifra Ash. Photography: Rambam HCC.

Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital treats a large number of children suffering from various hematological and oncological illnesses. Many of these children must undergo bone marrow transplantation, which requires them to be in isolation in the hospital for a period of several weeks. During this time, these young patients will naturally need something to keep them busy, even though on some days, they may feel unwell and unable to engage in the typical activities of their peers.

In order to improve conditions for these children, an assessment of needs was carried out by the staff of the Children’s Hospital’s Reiner-Shudi Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Thanks to the generosity of two donors who prefer to remain anonymous, the Unit recently received six fitness devices that were placed in its isolation rooms. These machines, which include a stair-stepper, multifunctional training chairs, and exercise bikes, allow these children to engage in physical activity whenever they feel well enough in order to help them get through their time in isolation.

“Personalized physical activity for children in isolation is of great importance,” explains Dalia Natan, Rambam’s Deputy Director of Physiotherapy and Head of Pediatric Physiotherapy in Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital. “We often see a reduction in overall weakness and feelings of fatigue, less nausea, an improvement in mood, and a greater ability to cope with stress and pain among children who engage in physical activity,” she adds.

Dr. Ronen Bar Yosef, Director of the Pediatric Pulmonary Institute at Rambam added, “Our ability to introduce fitness devices or any aid that will allow our patients to be more active advances our goal of helping these children function as normally as possible. It also gives them healthy habits for life - in the hospital and especially outside of it. We have seen quite a few studies in Israel and abroad showing that such equipment yields positive results and improves the recovery of these young patients.”

Dr. Roni Geffen, an attending physician in the Reiner-Shudi Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and coordinator of Rambam’s pediatric bone marrow research efforts, says, “By introducing advanced and innovative fitness equipment and physiotherapy into the isolation rooms, we improve the functional state of each child by strengthening their muscles and improving their mood. In coordination with a sports medicine doctor, the medical staff and the physiotherapist in the Unit, activities are customized for each child according to their age, health status, and state of physical and emotional development.”

Ruth Ophir, Head Nurse in the Joan & Sanford Weill Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, states, “In some cases, children who must be in isolation for bone marrow transplants cannot leave the room for several weeks. At times, their physical condition does not even allow them to get out of the hospital bed. Thanks to the wonderful donation we received, physical activity can provide these children with something to do, increase their internal motivation, help distract them from their illness, and prepare them to return to normal life when they go home.”