Daan Theeuwes Centrum in Woerden is a Dutch rehabilitation center, specializing in the recovery of young people (16-35) with severe acquired brain injury (ABI). The center was founded in 2018. Founder Adriaan Theeuwes’ son Daan had been in a serious accident in 2013. After a year, Daan still couldn’t walk, use his arm and hand, and had lots of cognitive problems. At the end of the generic rehab period, Daan would have been sent to a nursing home for the rest of his life. Supported by a group of experts, they continued rehab in the United States in a specialized center with focus on functional recovery and high intensity therapy in an enriched environment. Daan went to the Shepherd Center, Atlanta. After nine months of rehabilitation he was able to use his right arm, he could walk and could live on his own. Seeing young people recover beyond expectations, is what motivated Adriaan to set up a similar center in the Netherlands, helping 80 to 100 young people every year. We’re happy to have Adriaan in MedScaler’s Innovators Club.
“A major benefit of a young organization is that we could start from scratch. Including making a selection of new devices based on specific criteria that we value most”, Adriaan says. To him, innovations should be evidence-based and stimulate specific recovery and measure progress. “We got expert input from the American rehabilitation center in Atlanta – but also selected European vendors.” Walking again is often the main focus in rehabilitation, but the Daan Theeuwes Centrum decided to invest just as much in innovations for the arms and hands. “The upper extremity is much more complex and deserves lots of attention”, Adriaan says.
“Becoming part of the MedScaler Innovators Club is a brilliant idea. By surrounding yourself with people who have passion for healthcare and are dedicated to improve health for everyone makes me happy. It’s always good to be in touch with each other and receive updates on innovations in the field. Even hearing about new innovations that work, which you never thought they would, can give you in practice a revolutionary feeling.”
The Daan Theeuwes Center gave feedback on several innovations, including the Neurotablet and MoWoot.
“Many new solutions pass by. Often, these are improvements to existing ones, whereas you rarely see something completely different. We see a lot of digital health tools, video therapy and robotics within neurorehabilitation.” However, this week Adriaan was surprised by a small suitcase with paper notes and instructions, a pencil, stress ball, coins and some kneading clay, developed to support elderly in their recovery. Elderly who are not used to apps and have due to their brain damage some cognitive problems. According to Adriaan, brilliant innovations do not need to be complex or electronically revolutionary. “They can be simple or provide support in efficiency, quality, sustainability or in measuring improvements. To realize what is really needed now, we sometimes have to take a step back and think about how and if the user group can work with it.”
Nevertheless, the most important innovation is always in the mindset of your organization. Think out of the box. To Adriaan, innovation means a better future. “Don’t step back and conform to what is already existing, always keep looking for new opportunities and different ways to achieve the individual goals. Innovation is the responsibility of all. Doctors, therapists, nurse, all. And it is not just equipment. It is the team that makes the difference. They always have to push the boundaries.”