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Inpatient neuro rehab

Next stop, independence

Former bus driver Isabel rebuilds her life after stroke with specialist neuro-rehab support

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A 57-year-old former bus driver and mother of three, who had a life-changing bleed on the brain in July 2022, is now approaching her final destination of regaining independence thanks to her specialist rehabilitation team.

Through a combination of regular physiotherapy, occupational therapy and wellness sessions, Askham Rehab, which forms part of Askham Village Community near Doddington, has been working closely with Isabel Purcell to restore her motor functionality and improve her mental wellbeing following what she describes as “one of the most challenging times of my life”.

Isabel, who was very active before her stroke, was referred to Askham Rehab for an initial eight weeks and since discharge and now attends its outpatient service to fulfil her ongoing rehab goals. Since joining the community, she has come on leaps and bounds — overcoming the challenges of being restricted to full use in just one arm and leg.

Upon arrival, she required assistance to sit, stand and maintain balance due to a right-sided weakness, which was more pronounced in her upper limb. The priority was to centre her treatment around active movement, focussing on things like wrist flexion — using state-of-the-art robotic equipment, such as the Pablo system — an interactive therapy device.

The mental hardship of this restricted movement was one of the most challenging components of Isabel’s rehabilitation and occasionally left her feeling unmotivated and daunted by the process. Despite this, the consistent ‘can do’ attitude of her specialist care team, coupled with her continued resilience, has amounted to significant progress and positive steps towards independence.

Commenting on her rehabilitation journey, Isabel said: “When you have a stroke, it can be a very consuming time of your life and without the guidance and continued support of a community like Askham, I’m not sure how I would have got through it.

“I am fortunate to have three amazing children and a loving husband of 39 years, who have supported and motivated me throughout this whole process. I think I owed it to them and to myself to give this everything I’ve got, even on the days when it feels like an impossible task.

“Noticing progress in your rehabilitation journey is difficult as you are experiencing it every single day. However, my friends, family and care team are constantly reminding me how far I’ve come and when I think about my situation now compared with when I first had the stroke, it’s truly amazing.

“When I first came to Askham, I couldn’t do half the things I can do now — and I can’t put into words how grateful I am for their support. Being from Turves in Cambridgeshire, I was so lucky to have such an amazing care community right on my doorstep and I couldn’t recommend them more to anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in my position.”

Askham Village is a family-run community with a rehabilitation service that has transformed the lives of many individuals, and its remote setting and person-centred approach is the perfect place to address any personal challenge — big or small. With the latest robotic equipment and state-of-the-art gym and hydrotherapy facilities, it is leading the way in the local area for rehabilitation services.

Sara Neaves, clinical lead and outpatients service manager at Askham Rehab, said: “When we first met Isabel, aside from her terrific sense of humour and caring personality, there was a strong sense of determination to face her situation head on — and throw herself into the rehabilitation programme.

“It’s a real privilege to see how far she has come, and to see her engaging in activities she loved to do prior to her injury is just amazing. A key part of Askham’s ethos is empowerment and Isabel’s journey really encaptivated this.”

For more information on Askham Rehab, visit https://askhamrehab.com/.

Askham is always welcoming new residents and staff into its growing community. For further information, contact 01354 740269.

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