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What does Intensive Rehabilitation look like at VIM Health? Q&A

Piers Henderson’s Intensive Rehab Journey With VIM Healthcare

Piers Henderson was one of the first people to complete an intensive rehabilitation program at our state-of-the-art neurological rehabilitation centre, VIM Health. This is his story.

Piers Story

Piers Henderson, 42, has been on a journey of recovery since he had a stroke in March this year.  The stroke left Piers with numerous complications that mean he uses a wheelchair for mobility and still has a tracheostomy tube. Before the stroke, Piers who lives with his Mum so she can assist with his care had a busy, active life in London.

Since being discharged from the hospital, Piers has had to make a lot of adaptations to the way he lives but knew that health and fitness would be a huge priority for both his physical recovery journey and mental wellbeing. As soon as he discovered our newly opened neuro rehab clinic in Sussex, he decided to sign up for a gym membership and take his recovery from there.

Piers was one of the very first people to use the accessible gym at VIM – one of the clinicians that assessed Piers put together a bespoke gym physio programme that would both challenge and motivate him. After only a few weeks in the accessible gym, Piers felt confident and comfortable enough with VIM to investigate the intensive neurological rehabilitation programme the centre offers.

Bespoke Intensive Rehabilitation At VIM

VIM Health only opened a couple of months ago to their first clients, which included Piers, but the work that’s happened behind the scenes is apparent in the professional and extensive packages and options available to people recovering from neurological illnesses or accidents.

With an innovative care model, VIM Health is a neurological rehabilitation centre that focuses on intensive treatment and the use of robotic-assisted therapies. The unique addition of an onsite accessible gym means VIM offer a wide range of therapies, for a variety of conditions.

With so many treatment options, a multi-disciplinary team, and access to some of the best robotic technology in the UK, VIM create very specific and tailored rehab packages that ensure every single activity a client undertakes is meaningful.

Using this approach a programme was created for Piers that was clinically reasoned, with specific goals in mind. Using the gym in conjunction with intensive therapy sessions means Piers is combining goal-orientated activities as well as optimising his cardio and general mental wellbeing.

The programme created for Piers includes a mix of robotic assisted therapy to increase the dose and intensity of movements, and activities that include play! Piers particularly enjoys the assisted games of ping pong he’s been playing with clinic Founder and Director, Tom. To round up treatment, Piers also receives hands on therapy to assess his progression and positive neuroplasticity changes.

What Piers Says

Do you mind telling us a little bit about your life before the stroke?

So historically, I’ve always had heart problems and have undergone several surgeries, but aside from that, I was living a normal life in London. I’ve worked in the music industry, promoting venues and in higher education, and was an active person. Like most Londoners, I did a lot of walking, played tennis from time to time, and regularly played snooker at my local club.

What challenges have you faced after the stroke?

Well, the general lack of functionality in my body. So my left side’s incredibly weak, I can barely move my left arm and my left-hand doesn’t function very well. I can’t put shoes and socks on and struggle to do anything intricate with my hands or fingers.

My range of movement is also limited by heterotopic ossification (HO) in my hips, which is a complication after I had the stroke. It affects bending down and contributes to the pain I feel. So the aftereffects of the stroke are both neurological and musculoskeletal.

Before VIM Health have you made any improvements on your own?

I have been doing as much as I can, so I think I’ve improved a bit on a general level, but I haven’t been paying much attention to the specific issues on the left-hand side of my body. Now I’m working with VIM I have exercises concentrated on that side, and of course, it makes a difference having someone there to sort of gently nag me to get on with the exercises and motivate me.

I have been able to try some activities, such as snooker but I had to use a cue rest and found it quite a frustrating experience. I’m hoping things like that will improve over time.

Do you mind sharing your intensive therapy goals with us?

It would be to gain back as much functionality as possible. Particularly on my left side. So for example, I can comfortably play snooker again and then there is the day-to-day stuff I would like to become more independent with such as dressing myself, being able to bend down and put my socks on. Things like that.

To play snooker I need to be able to extend my left arm and put weight on my left foot, so in therapy, the excises I do reflect these goals.

What do you think of the robotic or games element of your programme?

It’s really interesting and the activities I do are varied. The games especially help keep me engaged and add an element of fun to my therapy. The Tyromotion is particularly good – I stand, with support, on the therapy plate to play interactive games and it helps with postural control. The Tyrostation is also used to help with mobility in my left arm and hand.

What aspects of your treatment have you found to be the most enjoyable and the most challenging?

It’s all challenging but I don’t think any recovery journey is going to be easy. To achieve the goals I want, I know I need to be challenged and work hard. Having therapy in such a welcoming environment with friendly people motivates me though. The interactive games and activities like ping pong are the most fun, and the play side of therapy makes it feel a little bit less like therapy.

What do you think of the facilities and team at VIM?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness that has gone into the setup at the clinic. The state-of-the-art equipment alongside regular gym equipment in a very pleasant setting. It all feels very welcoming and a good place to work on my goals.

In terms of the team, I’ve been given a huge amount of concentration and attention. I’m eagerly looking forward to continuing my Intensive rehabilitation with VIM.

VIM Healthcare

Thank you to Piers for answering our questions! We’re delighted with the progress he’s making and hope to update this intensive rehabilitation case study at some point in the future with further progress Piers makes.

Please get in touch if you are ready to start your own recovery journey.

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