National stroke rehabilitation pilot site implements VR service and explains how the new VR toolkit and e-learning will be used in their team
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is the process of supporting an individual to return to, remain in or find employment, essentially optimising work participation, following illness, impairment or disability.
In the context of stroke, VR is a key component to the National Stroke Model (2021) and National Service Model for an Integrated Community Stroke Service (ICSS) as well as highlighted as an essential requirement for stroke rehabilitation in the new NICE guidelines (2023).
In 2021, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE) piloted the implementation of the ICSS model across three pilot sites. In Northamptonshire, we were given the opportunity to enhance our existing ICSS with the addition of care reablement, wellbeing coaching training, peer support and VR.
As a result of the pilot our new VR lead occupational therapist, Philippa Smith, was involved in a national task and finish group, which was led by the NHSE national stroke programme manager Laura Rogers (physiotherapist).
The outputs of the group are the VR animation, the stroke VR toolkit and comprehensive e-learning package which contains videos of both clinicians and stroke survivors sharing their experience of VR.
The VR toolkit and e-learning resource is an invaluable resource, produced by stroke survivors in collaboration with clinicians working in VR or stroke rehabilitation, the Stroke Association, Different Strokes, VR Association and wider professional bodies.
The toolkit gives a detailed overview of VR, the national guidelines for VR, a VR framework and a detailed exploration of useful assessment and intervention tools, as well as an extensive number of resources.
Our VR service, led by Philippa Smith, will utilise the toolkit within our ICSS, to assist in the upskilling and training of team members, as a handbook for new staff and as a resource for commissioning and service development. Our involvement in the development of this piece of work, has been an incredible opportunity for our team and will be a valued resource for years to come.
Visit NHS England and search for stroke VR toolkit.
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