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Community team gets Kings Norton man back on his feet after stroke

John Cave and physio Hari Tippa
John Cave reviews his personal care plan with physio Hari Tippa

Kings Norton resident John Cave has paid tribute to BCHC staff who helped him recover from a stroke that left one side of his body totally paralysed.

“I went to get up one morning and fell straight off the bed on to the floor. That was when I realised my left arm and leg were paralysed,” said the 72-year-old.

John says he returned home after nine days in hospital with only a wooden walking stick to aid his mobility around the home.

“I was really struggling,” he says. “We had no handrails in the house or any other adaptations to help my mobility and cope with normal daily routine tasks like washing and eating.

“We had an open staircase with no banisters and no downstairs bedroom or toilet. So it was taking me an hour to get upstairs with Chris following me in case I fell.”

Fortunately, a friend of the couple gave them the single point of access phone number for BCHC’s adult community services so they called and referred John in.

“We didn’t know where to turn for help. Fortunately, we have a friend who mentioned Birmingham Community Healthcare’s rapid response service. So we gave them a call and got instant attention.

“Everyone who came to support us deserves nothing but praise - from the physios who got me walking again and the occupational therapists who assessed what I needed around the house to the guy who came to fit the stair-rail.”

John Cave and Hari Tippa
The support of the integrated multidisciplinary team ensured John was soon able to walk with the aid of a stick.

Physiotherapist Hari Tippa is part of the integrated multidisciplinary team that provided John with the urgent flexible care and practical support he needed to rebuild his life.

“John is a good example of a patient benefiting from early support on discharge from hospital. Because of his condition and functional issues, it was deemed urgent and we quickly organised equipment to enhance independence in his activities of daily living, home adaptations and mobility aids for safety.

“That was essential, because the early days following a stroke are when you can make the most impact on a patient’s motivation and strength to recover impaired concentration and mobility - the most common symptoms.”

John was given simple goals to help his recovery. Previously a keen reader, the stroke had reduced his ability to concentrate. Chris and the team encouraged him to travel independently to the local library to help boost his confidence and regain independence.

“I’ve got cousins in Australia who’ve been researching our family tree, so I’ve been taking the bus and using the library computers to help with that. So not only have the team made me feel safe and supported, they’ve helped me connect with them and provided a productive way of helping my rehabilitation. They’ve helped me get my life back.”