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Care and Rehabilitation

Technology-assisted therapy and botox after a stroke

Gareth talks about his neuro rehabilitation after a stroke – the important role botox played in re-learning to walk, his love of cooking that motivated his work with the occupational therapy team and being one of the first people to benefit from technology-assisted therapy at QEF’s Care and Rehabilitation Centre. 

“On the 1st April 2023 I had a stroke whilst I was at home in my flat in Hove. I don’t remember much but a friend called the ambulance and I was taken to Brighton hospital where I stayed for 3 weeks.  I was transferred to a specialist brain injury centre in Haywards Heath and then I was referred to QEF.

I was in a wheelchair when I got to QEF as my right side had all been affected.  I had some movement but it was weak, so I was able to feed myself and talk, but it was mainly my mobility that was affected. Due to hard work and physio I’m now walking with a crutches and my right arm has come back too.

I was aware of what was happening at the time. My memory was a little bit cagey, but its not anymore and luckily most of my instincts are back – although it can sometimes take me a while to find a word I am trying to think of, which it didn’t before.  

I’ve had physiotherapy 5 times a week – I had a problem with my right foot that I didn’t realise I had until I came to QEF – I couldn’t put my foot flat on the floor and it was turned in a lot. That’s why it took me so long to get to crutches as that was quite a major thing. I had botox to help with that, which they did at QEF. Its not a permanent thing, it lasts for about 6 months, but the idea is that during that time you exercise your body enough so that it permanently goes back to normal function by the time the botox wears off.

I worked with the Occupational Therapy team alot. They have taken me into Leatherhead once a week using the wheelchair which was really inspiring actually, as we would go food shopping for a meal I would then prepare in the OT kitchen. I’ve been doing lots of cooking with the Occupational Therapy team – I like to cook classic food like beef bourguignon but the budget doesn’t stretch to that really and we only have an hour! So I was focused more on making lunch meals that I could make for my sister, as I will be moving in with her when I leave QEF.  

The OT team have also been helping me prepare for this – they’ve been looking at the bathroom and they’ve raised the seat on the loo. I’m a very keen cook and I want to get back in the kitchen as soon as I can, so they are going to supply a stool which I can use to move around the kitchen.  

The gym is amazing. The staff are so brilliant – they let you take risks in a safe environment. I’m quite surprised at how much I feel I am in control of my progression, but then every now and again I will be surprised by something I didn’t know I could do. I’ve learnt things in therapy that I didn’t realise I would use – it’s not always immediately obvious, but then one day it suddenly makes sense.  

I’m starting work again soon – I’m a sales agent for a large company and my job is to develop the brand in the UK. I hope to get my driving license back again through QEF’s Mobility Services once my doctor approves me, although there are tests they can do here as well. And they’ve started my PIP application with me as well so I can move around independently. 

 Technology-Assisted Therapy
I’ve been working with the physio team to help them learn about the new therapytechnology they have. It’s a computer package which is quite clever actually. It does alot to do with your balance which is important when you’ve had a stroke. One of the games was an orchard with apples dropping and you have to move the position of your body on a feet sensitive foot board to catch them.  I did alright actually. It got better as I went on so I was able to see progress as well. It feels like a gamification of therapy – it’s a different angle of therapy but it’s still therapy.  Having it in tandem with regular therapy is a must. “

Gareth sitting in an armchair chair looking to camera, wearing a blue t-shirt and grey hoodie


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