Philip Haines, a former 88-year-old secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Peterborough, personally thanked the team at Askham Rehab, a neuro-rehabilitation community near Doddington, after an intensive 16-week rehabilitation program that allowed him to regain his mobility on his left side after a stroke in October 2020.
Caused by a blood clot that left part of his brain without oxygen, the stroke – known professionally as a cerebral infarction – left Philip with a dense left hemiplegia, which prevented him from moving his left arm and leg. Although the blood clot was successfully removed, the stroke caused Philip to have cognitive problems and difficulty swallowing.
Philip came to Askham Rehab from Peterborough City Hospital in November, where he was evaluated by the multidisciplinary team and set clear goals, before being placed on a specialized four-month program specific to his needs.
Philip was able to make use of family community robotics and sensor-assisted technology, thanks to the fact that he is one of a very small number of suppliers in the UK offering a specialized robotics-led rehabilitation service. He used the MYRO table, a sensor-based surface with interactive applications, to assist the movement of the upper limbs and focus on balance, coordination and cognitive training. As strokes are a specialized area in Askham Rehab, Philip also performed mirror therapy, practical therapy and functional tasks as part of his personalized program, which soon led to a significant improvement in his mobility.
Philip, who returned home at the end of April after completing the program, said: “The stroke drove me crazy and changed my life dramatically, but every day I met with a group of very enthusiastic physiotherapists who tried to bring a little bit of life back my left side. “
Born and educated in Derby, Philip left school and did his National Service in the Navy before moving to London, where he worked for 12 years in finance. He then moved to Hereford to work for Bulmer’s Cider for another 12 years, before finally settling in Peterborough as secretary for the Anglican Diocese of Peterborough.
An attentive listener to the Peterborough Cathedral Choir throughout his 20-year retirement, Philip still lives on the cathedral grounds and is happy to be back on his feet.
He continued: “This whole journey has been a completely new experience, it is almost like a rebirth. You always try to be positive, but it is inevitable that you experience periods of discouragement. The team’s enthusiasm helped to lift me during these low points. We got along well, they were very helpful and it was a real group effort to try to bring life back to my muscles ”.
When asked if he had any final words for the team that cared for him during his rehab, Philip simply said, “Keep up the good work. I will be forever grateful. “
Sara Neaves, clinical leader and outpatient services manager at Askham Rehab, said: “Philip had access to all four of our disciplines; clinical psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. It was clear from the first day that Philip knew exactly what he wanted to achieve. This allowed us to set patient-centered goals with him, ensuring he was part of the process throughout his journey with us.
“Philip was totally independent before the stroke and liked to walk to downtown Peterborough every day for lunch, so he was determined to get up. He quickly improved the mobility of his left upper limb with the use of our robotics and mirror therapy, and was soon able to transfer using a Molift with the help of two. He also improved swallowing by means of oral motor techniques and no longer needed thickening of fluids.
“It has been extremely gratifying to see Philip go this far. He had a positive outlook on his rehabilitation journey with us since moving. His sister has also been an excellent support for him and, due to our patient-centered care, his individualized program has worked for his goals. We are very happy that he can return and go to the city again to have lunch with friends.
Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, Director at Askham, said: “Philip’s journey at Askham covers what is Stroke Awareness Month; highlighting strategies to improve the quality of life of people recovering from the disease. Our family community, with over 30 years of experience, including 10 years of experience in neurological rehabilitation, prides itself on having comprehensive and specialized programs in place to ensure that those in rehabilitation receive structured, high-quality care with a holistic approach . “