Gillian's Medical Journey

After being unable to recall her name or date of birth at a routine hospital appointment Gill was diagnosed as having a Stroke.

Gillian’s interesting and remarkable medical journey starts back in 2009, after a series of fly-drive holidays exploring the North American National parks. Whilst attending a routine hospital appointment, Gill was unable to recall her name and date of birth to the clerical staff. After being sent to accident and emergency, Gill was diagnosed as having her first stroke. Out of the blue, Gill had gone from walking in the Yosemite Valley to being on an acute stroke ward, with no warning.

In 2013 Gill had to undergo a below the knee amputation of her left leg due to gangrene in her toe, and one week after discharge suffered another stroke in the night. Recovery was slow and complicated with the newly amputated limb and the stroke affecting opposite sides. Gill became critically ill during her hospital stay, contracting several hospital-acquired infections. Gill and her husband were told that if she returned home, she would be unable to walk, leave her bedroom and have no quality of life. Through her husband Rob’s determination, Gill eventually returned home, and slowly her speech and movement started to improve. Unfortunately, Gill had a further two strokes between June and September 2014, causing obvious setbacks to her progress.

Gill first encountered PhysioFunction at a local stroke support group called “Different Strokes”. The charity is based in Northampton, and provides local stroke survivors with a support network. During a guided monthly exercise session by PhysioFunction therapist Claire, Gill’s husband Rob was taken back by the compassionate care of the therapist, and how the group program was altered to cater for Gill’s current capabilities.

Rob organised an assessment at the Chris Moody Centre Clinic in Moulton, to collate an application for a Personal Healthcare Budget from the local authority, which was later accepted in April 2016. This budget empowered Gill and Rob to be in control of Gill’s care and recovery. As well as regular weekly Physiotherapy input, the Personal Health Budget has paid for a regular carer to help with activities of daily living.

Gill has gone from being at the depths of illness, with infections and amputations post stroke and being told she would not stand again, to being able to walk with a frame, which is a great achievement so far. Gill’s goal is to be able to walk with just a stick, and her physiotherapist is working to progress Gills strength, balance and coordination to make that goal a reality.

At the last Different Strokes meeting, Gill showed off her newly regained mobility to other group members, walking using a wheeled frame the length of the function hall. For months, Gill attended the sessions in her wheel chair without her prosthesis, and the rest of the group had never seen Gill on her feet. This was understandably a proud moment for Gill, her carer and her physiotherapist alike.

We have visited Gill’s home to gain an understanding of daily requirements and to formulate ideas for family and carers to continue rehab at home. Activities range from balance and coordination rehab using functional tasks, to walking practice in the home environment. Our rehab is transferable and adaptable from the clinical environment, to the home, which ultimately evolves to increased function and independence.

Gillian taking a few steps!

An update on Gillian's progress!

A lot has happened over the past year for Gill. She has made excellent progress with her physiotherapy and rehabilitation, having achieved many of her goals. With dedication and hard work in collaboration with PhysioFunction, Gill has improved her balance, strength and co-ordination. In her physiotherapy sessions she walks with two sticks, and continues to use her frame at home. Gill continues to receive weekly one-to-one physiotherapy sessions with Claire, and is now a regular participant of Neurofit once a week. Neurofit is our specialised and tailored exercise class for neurological patients, and Gill loves the motivating, caring and social environment that it creates for her to do her rehabilitation in.

As well as physiotherapy with Claire and Neurofit every week, Gill continues to attend her local gym up to twice a week for the past 8 months. Under the guidance and recommendation of exercises from Claire, Gill’s carer Kelly is able extend her rehabilitation programme beyond the clinic, which has proven incredibly beneficial to Gill’s exercise tolerance. Gill has very recently begun Occupational Therapy sessions with Sarah, who is beginning to work with Gill to improve her hand skills and function.

At home, Gill and her husband Rob have undergone vast but positive changes. Their previous car port has been converted into a home therapies room with full heating and electricity supply, so Gill can continue her rehab within her own home instead of going to the local gym. Due to finish very soon, the therapies room will be furnished with rehabilitation equipment on recommendation of PhysioFunction, to act as an adjunct to her clinic based exercises. There has also been funding secured and contracts signed for plans of a new wet room to be built in Gill’s home too, which will make showering and washing easier giving her more independence.

According to Rob Gillian's husband, "Gill’s physical strength and abilities are constantly improving. We were taken aback by the care, quality and tailoring of the physiotherapy service at PhysioFunction, and we both confidently state that PhysioFunction has been the main driving force behind Gill's progress."

After being unable to recall her name or date of birth at a routine hospital appointment Gill was diagnosed as having a Stroke.

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