Jenni had a stroke early in 2017. When she first arrived at QEF she couldn’t sit up on her own, her right leg and right arm were paralysed, and she had very little speech.
Exercises built up her core strength, and within a short time she was able to sit up unaided. Her physio has included walking and stretching exercises, and OT exercises with a pole helped to strengthen her arm. She especially enjoyed the speech and language therapy, making steady progress, and can now walk using a quad-based walking stick.
Since her return home she has attended regular physio and SLT sessions, and hopes to go back to work soon. She says:
“All the staff [at QEF] are wonderful, from the rehab and nursing staff to the office workers. They’re always smiling and ready to help, and have supported and encouraged me the whole time I’ve been here.”
Emily had gone to bed with what appeared to be a simple headache but awoke to find herself unable to see and hardly able to stand. On being taken to hospital, she was diagnosed as having encephalitis and meningitis and by the afternoon, was placed on a life support system and went into a coma for two months.
The hospital saved her life but Emily had suffered a severe brain injury and returning home seven months later, she struggled to communicate and could not eat, wash or even sit up in bed without help. She came to QEF Neuro Rehabilitation Services to help relearn the skills she needed for daily living and independence. Emily took advantage of the different types of accommodation on offer at QEF and moved into an independent flat where she practiced life skills such as washing, dressing and cooking a meal while having the support of on-site staff to assist if needed.
Her speech greatly improved and although dependent upon an electric wheelchair she relearned how to walk and passed her driving test at the QEF Mobility Centre.
Emily commented: “When I was in hospital, I just presumed that I would get better but when that didn’t happen, I became extremely depressed and concerned for the future. My biggest fear was that I would end up living a life on benefits and dependent upon others for all my needs. The road to recovery has been very hard but my time at QEF has taught me not to be afraid of failure and to never give up on striving for your goal in life.”
Alex came to QEF Neuro Rehabilitation Services as a young adult who had recently experienced a major stroke when he collapsed during a half-marathon. Doctors had to remove part of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.
He had to relearn how to talk, and came to QEF to focus on regaining mobility and independence, so that he could achieve his goal of returning to university to continue his degree in electronics.
With the help of the team at the Brain Injury Centre, Alex worked hard to exercise and became able to walk again with the aid of leg splints and a walking stick.
He said: “To be honest, every morning of my life I am able to get up and wash without the assistance of a carer I will be truly thankful for.”
Before his stroke, Alex had passed his driving test and wanted to return to the road. This is something that QEF Mobility Services was able to help with. An assessment tested his reactions and recommended the right adaptions to enable him to access and control a car. These were a ‘lollipop’ style grip that helps with steering, and Bluetooth secondary controls for right hand use.
Alex started driving again on the track at the QEF Mobility Centre. This realistic private track has traffic lights and junctions and replicates the experience of driving on a real road without having to worry about other vehicles or pedestrians.
He told us: “If you are put through and survive a severe brain injury such as a stroke or an impact caused trauma, returning to drive on public roads may appear an unyielding task at first. However - with the vast array of modern driving aids available, it may well be more realistic than you think.”
One month before her 18th Birthday Nicki lost control of her car in heavy rain and collided with a tree. Both her legs were broken, as was her pelvis, and she went into a coma. She was taken to an intensive care unit in hospital, where she spent a month before she was able to breath on her own and she slowly regained consciousness. At this point only a small amount of her ability to move returned.
Once she had become medically stable Nicky started a long journey of rehabilitation at Northwick Park Hospital, where she worked hard to learn to stand up, sit and walk again, and also to speak, eat, read and all of those things most people take for granted. From there Nicki came to to QEF’s Brain Injury Centre, where she continued to work hard with our team of specialist therapists to make further gains.
One year after her accident Nicki was able to complete a one and a half mile fun run at the St Albans half marathon, and went on to study performing arts alongside her work experience.
A vicious assault resulted in 26-year old Alfie suffering serious head injuries that left him unable to walk or speak, but now, after intensive neuro rehabilitation at QEF’s Brain Injury Centre he is showing progress.
After an initial period in hospital to allow his injuries to reach a stable condition, Alfie came to QEF to continue the long journey he faces to reclaim some of the abilities he has lost that many of us take for granted. His family and friends have been an invaluable source of strength for Alfie, supporting his progress by regularly visiting and taking him on short trips out. They have also built up a strong network of support, including a Facebook group of well-wishers to let Alfie know he’s got their backing, and to organise events to raise funds for any adaptations to his home that he may need.
When Alfie first came to QEF, although he was aware of everything around him, his ability to communicate was limited and mostly involved moving his thumb. But since then, the stimulating and active environment at the Brain Injury Centre, intensive therapy sessions, and time spent using equipment funded by QEF’s supporters’ generous donations have seen Alfie’s communications and movement improve.