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Stroke Recovery Success Story!! Liz’s journey of achieving her long term goal!!

Liz comes from a background of a very active lifestyle, raising a large family on the farm. She has always had a very active lifestyle and an important role within her local community. She enjoys taking her dogs for regular walks along the farm track on the steep hill behind her home.

Unfortunately Liz suffered a stroke in November 2021 and was admitted to the NHS Stroke ward. Her main stroke symptoms were right-sided weakness which had a significant impact on her movement, function, strength, walking and balance. To begin with Liz was only able to transfer from her chair to bed. She then progressed to walking with a frame and was able to be discharged home from hospital.

Liz contacted Home Physio by Nicola to ask for help in her rehabilitation journey to try to improve her mobility and function at home. At her initial assessment appointment, we discussed her short-term and long-term goals. Her short-term goals were to improve her mobility within the house, help her functional ability within the house in her household tasks and activities of daily living. Her long-term goal was to do with her outdoor mobility. She said "I'm gonna get back up on that hill again to walk my dogs! " and we said we will do everything we can to help you get back up on that hill!

Our rehab journey together began! Fatigue management was one of the big priorities to be able to pace activities and conserve energy to make sure that she could have the best quality of movement. Liz had a splint for her ankle to help prevent her foot from catching on the floor, to minimise her falls risk. She was provided with a tailored patient centred home exercise program, consisting of dexterity exercises, functional exercises linked in with her hobbies, strength and balance work. We encouraged her to do exercises that fitted in with her daily routine. During treatment sessions together, we used a range of treatments to help engage her selective movement, strengthen her core muscles and retrain her walking pattern.

At times this journey was a bit of a rollercoaster with facing challenges of having Covid and Covid recovery, as well as viral illnesses, all of which affected the fatigue and tone symptoms. However, nothing was going to bring her down and her great determination to stay motivated throughout her journey has been admirable.

Liz progressed from walking with a Rutland trolley indoors to achieving walking outdoors with her Four Wheeled Walker. She then managed to walk with a walking stick and in recent weeks has been walking unaided throughout her home and patio without requiring her ankle orthotic!

In the Scottish Borders on Monday this week it was an absolutely glorious day. The sun was shining bright and there was no wind. Perfect conditions to try to tackle that hill! Liz had had a great week managing to walk down the street in her hometown without using her orthotic on her ankle anymore, her confidence was flourishing. So we ventured outside to her back garden. We climbed up the steep outdoor steps to her back gate. We then walked up to the grass hill, which was very uneven, she hurdled the fence at the stile and got up onto the farm track. But this was not enough! Liz was so motivated and exhilarated by her achievement, she wanted to keep going so managed to walk 100 m along the farm track! As you can see from the photo, Liz felt like she was on top of the world and all we said to each other - "we knew we would get up that hill one day!" It was a very emotional treatment session for everybody involved as we walked along the farm track with her son, she said - "take videos and photos that show all the family I've made it!!!!" And all of this, without a seated rest!

This is what I like to call one of my golden moments. This is what gives me the butterflies in my belly and a lump in my throat to think -Yes, this is why I became a physiotherapist!! At Home Physio by Nicola no goal is too big, we have the time to help patients achieve their fullest potential in returning to the very best functional ability, improving their quality of life, and achieving their goals!

Thank you Liz for allowing us to share your inspirational story in your stroke recovery journey, and we wish you all the success in coordinating a litter pick for your local community at the weekend. We are all so proud of you. Keep up the great work!

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