Kellie Pike explains why getting the right equipment after stroke can make a big difference.
A stroke often propels people into a financial minefield, as survivors have to adjust to an abrupt change in their circumstances. The sudden loss of income or resources means necessary equipment may be beyond the means of a patient who has had a stroke. And as health professionals know, financial pressures in the NHS can also make it difficult to fund apparatus.
There is, however, a scheme that can alleviate some of that pressure: physiotherapists can apply for Life After Stroke grants to deliver essential support.
At Neurological Physiotherapy, I have worked with the Stroke Association for many years in Manchester and Stockport. It was through this that I found out about these grants. They are means-tested and provide a one-off award of up to £300. The grants help to provide vital home or personal equipment, or to support a person become active after a stroke. They contribute towards items such as specialist and mobility aids, kitchen appliances and household furniture.
I recently helped two patients to apply successfully for grants. One used the money to buy a four-wheeled walker, which has made a significant difference to her quality of life. She is now confident about going out to garden and shopping centres, and can attend her doctor and hospital appointments independently. Simple things most people take for granted are part of her daily life again.
The second patient who I thought could benefit from a Life After Stroke grant suffered from pain in his right wrist due to high tone following a stroke. We were able to apply for a neuromuscular electrical stimulator as an adjunctive treatment for his right arm.
Our aim was to reduce the spasticity and pain this patient was experiencing, and to increase the activity in his forearm and hand. He has only just received the equipment but is already using it on a daily basis and feels motivated by the opportunity the Stroke Association has given him.
Schemes like the Life After Stroke grants provide a practical way to support patients’ investment in their own recovery.
I hope many physiotherapists will apply for grants. They are potentially another weapon in our arsenal of stroke support.
To find out more, visit their website here.
- Kellie Pike is an expert physiotherapy practitioner in stroke, Neurological Physiotherapy
Kellie Pike expert physiotherapy practitioner in stroke, Neurological Physiotherapy
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