Case studies illustrating why community rehabilitation is so important
What happens when support isn’t in place?
At 46, Lizzie, a judge, mother of two and keen runner, suffered a life-threatening subarachnoid brain-hemorrhage and stroke. Just three weeks after life-saving brain surgery, Lizzie was discharged home, paralysed and blind, and waited seven months for NHS community rehabilitation.
Lizzie had to pay privately for rehabilitation to help her learn to walk again, and to treat the many other health issues caused by her stroke.
The lack of readily available, specialist community rehabilitation contributed to the breakdown of her marriage and enforced retirement from her job, leaving her with continued pain, depression, and desperation.
Rehabilitation is transformational
It was the best thing that I have done. It helped me to understand my condition, how to improve it and, most importantly, how to manage it.
Despite living with a lung condition since childhood Annette, 67, was only introduced to pulmonary rehabilitation 2 years ago, in 2017.
Annette has bronchiectasis, a lung condition that causes a persistent cough and excess phlegm. A permanent condition, it gets worse over time. She also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and clinical depression.
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has had a significant impact on her quality of life. Similarly, community wellbeing sessions have helped Annette understand her depression and manage it.
‘Learning how to belly breathe and managing walking to increase mobility and muscle strength takes the fear out of going out into the community and has helped me no end. In the past I found it very depressing after an exacerbation as it felt like all the exercise I had been doing was lost. Now I take a deep breath and start again and enjoy the challenge of getting more mobile again.’
Prehabilitation improves long-term health
Mr Jones, a retired bus driver, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer at 72.
He attended a prehabilitation clinic directly after his diagnosis. He was assessed as needing a significant level of support to get him more physically active and improve his diet, and a moderate level of psychological support to cope with the surgery and chemotherapy to come.
Mr Jones received free gym membership, 2 fitness sessions a week in a small group, and a heart rate monitor to encourage him to walk more. He saw a specialist dietitian, received weekly nutritional screening and dietary advice. He was also made aware of the extra psychological support available to him.
Mr Jones reported that the prehabilitation sessions made him feel ‘more motivated to look after myself’