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Generous donation helps stroke patients get to grips with rehab

15 March 2013

Health Care

A generous donation by the Advanced Surgical Equipment Trust (ASET) is helping stroke patients like George Selfe get back the full range of hand movement.

George, 80, from Benfleet, suffered a stroke three weeks ago which left him partly paralysed and unable to use his right arm properly. But since therapists at Southend University Hospital have fitted him with a Seabo dynamic hand splint, George is gradually learning to get to grips with normal activities again.

ASET has donated £12,000 worth of kit which can be provide tailor-made splints for six patients at a time, enabling them not only to grip objects but, more importantly, to release that hold.

Nicola Pugh, physiotherapist for the community stroke team, which works closely with the ward's own therapists, explained: "Often stroke patients can grasp hold of things but are unable then to straighten their fingers to release their grip. The splint has a spring which aids that movement so patients can practise everyday activities without needing a lot of therapy."

Repetitive exercises carried out wearing the splint aid the brain to reprogramme itself and restore the patient's hand function.

Nicola said: "The kit allows us to make six splints at a time, each fitted to the patient's size and needs. When the patient leaves hospital the splint goes with them so they can wear it for 45 minutes once or twice a day. It empowers patients to take control of their exercise programme."

 Once the splint is no longer needed, it can be adapted for a new patient.

Nicola said: "Statistics show that 50% of patients do not recover functional use of their arm after a major stroke and there are 150,000 strokes in the UK every year. In the past, patients have had hours and hours of therapy for very little gain.

"We are extremely grateful to ASET for providing these splints which will make an enormous difference to our patients' recovery."

ASET also donated an electrical stimulation unit with an electromyography (EMG) reader to gauge if messages are being relayed from the brain to the muscles and to provide stimulation where needed before patients go on to use the splint.

In addition, the charity donated six syringe pumps, each worth £2,500 for the chemotherapy unit and Edmund Stone ward, bringing the total amount of equipment it has funded over the years for Southend University Hospital to £1.3million. .



With pic:Stroke patient George Self with Louise Fletcher, rehab assistant and Nicola Pugh, physiotherapist with the community stroke team