Posted on Monday 10 August 2015
Patients and staff at the garden party
A rehab centre which helps amputees get back on their feet celebrated its second birthday with a garden party on Sunday 9 August.
The Amputee Rehabilitation Unit in Kennington has helped more than 200 people become confident using a prosthetic limb or wheelchair since it was opened by Paralympic athlete Scott Moorhouse in 2013.
Around 70% of the unit’s patients have vascular disease, which affects blood flow. Often they will also have diabetes. More than 7,000 people with diabetes in England have amputations each year, according to diabetes UK.
The unit provides intensive therapy and medical and psychological support to people who have had lower or upper limb amputations.
Georgina Antwi, 44, a social care manager from Beckton, says: "I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2000 but I didn't take it seriously.
“I was working very hard with my care agency, wasn't eating regular meals, didn't take my insulin, and carried on drinking fizzy drinks.
"I started coughing a lot and found a blister on my foot, which was septic, but I didn't go to the GP at the time.
"I ended up in hospital in April this year and was told that my diabetes was out of control. I was in hospital for 13 weeks and they tried hard to save my foot but the lower leg had to be amputated.
"The staff at the rehabilitation unit are really motivating and encouraging, and talk to me about what I want to get back to doing, like going on a bus by myself.
“So we concentrate on what I need to do to achieve this and we do lots of things like conditioning and stretching exercises. I feel like I've got personal trainers."
Georgina and other patients are given the skills to return home so they can carry out everyday tasks such as cooking and washing safely.
Occupational therapists adapt homes and workplaces when patients leave the unit. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Bowley Close Rehabilitation Unit in Crystal Palace, which supplies prosthetic limbs, also supports patients to stay independent at home.
Angela McCrae, Head of Specialist Regional Rehabilitation, says: “Losing a limb can be very traumatic. It’s great that we have been able to help so many amputees get moving again and support them, physically and mentally, so they have happy and positive lives after amputation.”