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Think Therapy 1st OT shortlisted for major award

Steph Fleet has been recognised for her client-focused work and expertise in pain management



An occupational therapist at Think Therapy 1st has been shortlisted for a major industry award. 

Clinical lead OT Steph Fleet has been named as a finalist in the Advancing Healthcare Awards 2022, having been shortlisted in the Rising Star category. 

Steph’s shortlisting comes in recognition of her commitment to clients and delivery of evidence-based outcomes, as well as her expertise in pain management, which has seen her redefine TT1’s specialist pain offering. 

Since joining TT1st, Steph has played a transformational role in its Holistic Education for Living with Pain (HELP) pain programme, recently overseeing its relaunch as a multi-disciplinary approach. 

The programme had run previously as an occupational therapy service, but its new format will continue to  deliver life-changing outcomes for people with the support of an MDT which also brings in psychology and physiotherapy. 

“The amazing work Steph has done in revitalising our pain programme and turning it into a multi-disciplinary approach is phenomenal,” said Helen Merfield, managing director of TT1st. 

“Her work with clients is equally impressive and always yields fantastic results.”

Steph, whose colleagues nominated her secretly, said: “I was absolutely blown away when I received an email to say that I had made the finals, I didn’t know anything about the application. 

“I love the work I do and am so proud and honoured to be part of the TT1st team. I feel the whole team are rising stars as everyone goes above and beyond and truly supports each other.”

Clients and referrers were also keen to voice their praise of Steph. 

Stephen Gower, a client of Steph’s from Somerset, who was seriously injured when he was knocked off his bicycle on Christmas Eve 2020, said Steph has been “invaluable” to his recovery. 

“I wasn’t sure that I would get over it, I was putting on a brave face but inside I was so anxious and worried, just dwelling on everything – but then Steph came into my life in March 2021 and the help she gave me in those early days was invaluable,” he said. 

“When she arrived, she filled the room with her energy, she makes you feel better about yourself when she is around. 

“She is so knowledgeable about stuff and always explains things simply – as my mum used to say, “She’s sharp as a pin”, and she’s so in tune that she sometimes knows what I need before I do!

“She really has helped me put my life back together, and I’m not sure what I would have done without her.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I was to hear that Steph had made it to the finals of this award, she so deserves it.” 

A senior insurance claims manager from a large insurer who refers work to TT1st said Steph is “inspirational” for her clients. 

“She takes time to understand their needs and then is a passionate advocate to get them the support they require,” she said. 

“She makes a real difference to their lives and will tailor solutions specifically to their needs – each person gets a unique solution that delivers for them.

“Steph is very easy to work with and I and my team know that we can trust her judgement which is key to delivering the right results.”

Philip Coulthurst, managing director at Coulthurst Solcitors, added that he is “indebted” to the opponent who first introduced him to Steph at TT1st. 

“Steph did an amazing job with a challenging client who had suffered a brain injury.  She was struggling to come to terms with her injury, was in denial, very secretive and would resist any intervention and treatment that did not fit her belief system,” he recalls. 

“With Steph’s involvement, we saw a step-change in this young woman’s engagement that we had not seen previously.  Building this relationship, creating trust and developing a client-centric plan that this young woman engaged with would have been no mean feat.

“I must say I was somewhat surprised to learn that Steph was ‘only’ 5 years PQE.  In my view, she certainly operates well above her weight if measured simply by years on the job.” 

The Advancing Healthcare Awards ceremony will be held on April 8th at a ceremony in London. 

“We are absolutely thrilled that Steph has made the finals, she is definitely a worthy winner – fingers crossed for April 8th,” added Helen. 


Neuro Convention returns next week

The event brings together neuro-rehab professionals and leading organisations from across the UK



Neuro-rehab professionals and organisations will be attending one of the key dates in the sector calendar next week – Neuro Convention 2022. 

The event showcases the latest technology and innovations in the neurological sector, with the goal of improving patient outcomes. 

Neuro Convention, held on Wednesday and Thursday at the NEC Birmingham, will focus on four key areas – rehabilitation, mental health, diagnostics and brain and spinal injury. 

The free event includes a programme of more than 50 free CPD-accredited seminars, hosted by leading experts from across neuro-rehab, as well as interactive workshops hosted by the specialist neuro-rehab team at the University of Plymouth. 

Technology will also be showcased, with a programme of live demonstrations, to show how the latest innovation can benefit people’s lives. 

More than 50 exhibitors will also be in attendance, including the team from NR Times, who can be found on stand N-G3. 

Neuro Convention will be co-located with Naidex and UK Care Week within the NEC, highlighting the shared dedication of all three events to improve mobility and the technology introduced to support independent living.

Deborah Johnson, editor of NR Times, who will be attending Neuro Convention, said: “Neuro Convention is known as being one of the must-attend events in the neuro-rehab calendar, and 2022 looks to be another excellent event, with a packed programme of speakers and workshops and an array of leading exhibitors. 

“It’s absolutely fantastic that the opportunities for the neuro-rehab sector to come together again in person are returning, and I’m personally looking forward to meeting as many people as possible – those who are new to NR Times, others who are old friends, and those who to date we have only met via Zoom!” 

Tickets are free and to register, visit here. 


Dates & Times 

Wednesday 6th July 2022 | 09:30 – 16:30

Thursday 7th July 2022 | 09:30 – 16:00 

Venue Address 

Hall 19

National Exhibition Centre (NEC)


B40 1NT, UK

Social links #NeuroCon

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Role of sleep in memory and learning uncovered

Research findings could aid development of assistive tools for people with neurological injury or disease



New research into sleep may help explain how memories are formed and how learning is consolidated, and could aid the development of assistive tools for people affected by neurological injury or disease. 

Scientists previously studying laboratory animals discovered a phenomenon known as ‘replay’ that occurs during sleep – a strategy the brain uses to remember new information. 

Scientists believe that this replay of neuronal firing during sleep is how the brain practices newly-learned information, which allows a memory to be consolidated, and converted from a short-term memory to a long-term one. 

However, replay has only been convincingly shown in lab animals.

Now, a new study has investigated whether replay occurs in the human motor cortex — the brain region that governs movement — focusing on a 36-year-old man with tetraplegia who cannot move his upper and lower limbs due to a spinal cord injury. 

The man, identified in the study as T11, is a participant in a clinical trial of a brain-computer interface device that allows him to use a computer cursor and keyboard on a screen.

The investigational device being developed by the BrainGate consortium, a collaborative effort involving clinicians, neuroscientists and engineers at several institutions with the goal of creating technologies to restore communication, mobility, and independence for people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss.

In the study, T11 was asked to perform a memory task similar to the electronic game Simon, in which a player observes a pattern of flashing coloured lights, then has to recall and reproduce that sequence. 

He controlled the cursor on the computer screen simply by thinking about the movement of his own hand. Sensors implanted in T11’s motor cortex measured patterns of neuronal firing, which reflected his intended hand movement, allowing him to move the cursor around on the screen and click it at his desired locations. 

These brain signals were recorded and wirelessly transmitted to a computer.

That night, while T11 slept at home, activity in his motor cortex was recorded and wirelessly transmitted to a computer.

“What we found was pretty incredible,” said Dr Daniel Rubin, lead author and a neurologist at the MGH Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery. 

“He was basically playing the game overnight in his sleep.

“This is the most direct evidence of replay from motor cortex that’s ever been seen during sleep in humans.”

Most of the replay detected in the study occurred during slow-wave sleep, a phase of deep slumber. 

Interestingly, replay was much less likely to be detected while T11 was in REM sleep, the phase most commonly associated with dreaming. 

The researchers see this work as a foundation for learning more about replay and its role in learning and memory in humans.

“Our hope is that we can leverage this information to help build better brain-computer interfaces and come up with paradigms that help people learn more quickly and efficiently in order to regain control after an injury,” said neurologist Dr Sydney S. Cash, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery at MGH.

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Brain injury

Pioneering project could revolutionise capacity assessment

Sector-leading research is set to generate a framework of wellbeing indicators for patients



Specialist neurological care provider PJ Care has partnered with the University of Leicester for a sector-leading research project that could revolutionise the assessment and care of residents who lack capacity.

The two have come together in a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) to support the creation of a centralised system at PJ Care to create algorithms that will generate a framework of wellbeing indicators for those who are non-verbal as a result of their neurological condition.

So far, a review has been completed of existing research into this area, which will be published jointly by PJ Care and the University of Leicester later this year.

Leading the project is Dr Allan Perry, consultant clinical neuropsychologist and director of clinical services at fast-growing PJ Care.

“The current models for assessing the health and wellbeing of those without capacity and who cannot readily communicate their feelings and experiences are limited and don’t take advantage of the recent advances in technology and data analysis that can give us much more detailed information,” he explains.

“There is a wealth of monitoring technology that we use which allows us to collect real-time data on a number of wellbeing indicators such as a person’s oxygen levels, heart rate, fluid intake and the number of steps they take to reach a certain distance.

“We believe this data can be analysed by an algorithm to provide insights into personal wellbeing, sense of agency, independence and self-determination, that are more accurate than those offered by traditional methods. We can then apply this information to tailor our care to that individual.

“While there is plenty of information on bringing more technology into the care sector and using the data being created by it, this isn’t being married with the questions posed by a person’s capacity as yet. We don’t believe any other care provider is delivering anything like what we are proposing to.”

PJ Care is a specialist neurological care provider with three specialist care centres – the first of which has just celebrated its 21st anniversary – for more than 200 adults with progressive conditions such as young onset dementia and Huntington’s disease, and care and rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injuries.

Dr Zehra Turel holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Leicester and serves as KTP research associate for the project, working with Professor John Maltby and Professor Elizabeta Mukaetova-Ladinska of Leicester’s Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.  

She says there is an urgent need for an accurate assessment tool for those who have difficulty communicating.

“We have so far uncovered that the available wellbeing measurements neglect or fail in understanding of the clinical populations such as cognitively impaired individuals, with or without capacity,” says Dr Turel.  

“This project will provide micro and macro insights about residents’ health and wellbeing, and support decision-making at both resident and business level.

“With the increasing use of new data-driven technologies and streamlined data collection at PJ Care, this project will improve personalised care and provide more accurate and faster predictive and preventive measures, and more informed decision-making along with lowering costs and simplifying internal operations.”

“This KTP has the potential to develop resources that could not just be transformative for PJ Care and how our staff support people without capacity, but, eventually, for the whole care sector,” says Dr Perry.  

“We will be looking to market this if it proves to be as effective as we believe it will be.”


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