Exercise helps stroke patients get confident

Thursday 19 November 2015

Jason Wynne and ASPIRE gym instructor Wendy Yates

Stroke patients are getting fit and regaining their confidence thanks to an exercise group run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ community physiotherapists.

The group, which meets at the Peckham Pulse Healthy Living Centre and ASPIRE Health and Wellbeing Centre in West Dulwich, has helped 300 patients since it began in 2013.

Newly diagnosed stroke patients attend the exercise group for six weeks to help them stay healthy and avoid a stroke in the future. They are encouraged to carry on being active after the sessions have ended.

Jason Wynne, 40, from Oval, a head chef with clothing company Ted Baker, had a stroke in June and has been attending classes at ASPIRE. He says: “I’d been at home looking after the children, cooking and watching telly. When my wife Charlotte got in from work she said she could see straight away something was wrong. I looked very hot and flustered.

“By the time we got to the hospital my arm had gone dead and I was struggling to walk. All I remember is passing out on the Monday and waking up on the Friday. I didn’t know what had happened.”

Jason spent five weeks in St Thomas’ Hospital receiving intensive rehabilitation including speech and language therapy and physiotherapy. After he returned home, Jason was supported by the community stroke team who recommended that he attend the specialist exercise classes at ASPIRE.

Jason says: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a normal gym but these classes have made me feel more confident to carry on exercising. Eventually I want to get back to doing the things I did before the stroke like going out for a meal with my wife and my 18-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.”

Patients are referred to the community stroke team by staff at Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and St George’s Hospital.

The team co-ordinates the care provided by community teams such as district nurses and other local services like social workers, so that the right care is in place when patients leave hospital.

Rukiye Ahmet, clinical manager for the community stroke team, says: “The stroke exercise classes are just one aspect of the service we offer. Our team prepares patients and their families to move on with their lives after a stroke. We try to make sure that their experience in the crucial first few days after being discharged from hospital is a positive one.

"A stroke changes the lives of not only our patients but also their families. It's vital that we involve the carer as well as the patient so they can feel part of the community again. That could mean supporting the patient to go back to work, being able to shop or go on a bus ride, or by providing extra support so the carer gets a break when needed."

For more information about the stroke exercise group call 020 3049 5558 or email [email protected].

Last updated: November 2015

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