In June 1961, Anthony Stanley (Tony) was involved in a horrific car accident, causing him T6 spinal cord damage. As a result Tony was left paralysed from his upper chest down. Due to Tony’s determination and positive outlook he had been able to be a productive member of the workforce and enjoy fun times with friends and family, including many driving holidays in Europe.
Tony has always been a very independent man who enjoys the finer things in life, loving driving in his specialist van, eating out in the best restaurants, drinking fine wine and visiting friends. However due to his lack mobility, he was experiencing problems with his pressure areas breaking down. Tony made the decision that he needed extra care to prevent this further, and he eventually made the decision to move into Alderwood in June 2017.
On admission to the home, Tony had a small Grade 2 pressure ulcer to his perineum. Historically this area had been problematic, with it healing and breaking down many times. Tony was on his own strict pressure relieving regime which the home team respected and upheld, still this area would remain open. Tony would get up each day for only three hours maximum and then would need to return to bed to relieve his vulnerable areas. Eventually, Tony returned to hospital where he saw his spinal consultant. He was advised to spend 6-8 weeks on total bed rest to encourage the wound to heal.
Tony spent the whole of the summer in bed attempting to heal. The Tissue Viability Nurse did not sound optimistic that this area would completely heal. Tony found this a very difficult time and became very low in mood, due to the social isolation.
Whilst his wound eventually healed and he was able to get up in his chair again, any length of time up in his wheelchair caused another breakdown. His independence was greatly suffering and his family and friends were upset by his low mood and demeanour.
Tony had a pressure relieving cushion on his motorised wheelchair, which he had been assessed for by his Specialist Occupational Therapist. It was put to Tony by Nikki, the Home Manager and Sophie Brown, Clinical Manager that an airflow cushion could be used on his wheelchair, which in theory should work as well as his airflow mattress, allowing him more time up in his chair, which in turn would combat his low mood and outlook on life, so the cushion was ordered.
Tony had his new cushion in place just before Christmas. He was now able to get up in his chair at 10:30am and be up all day, returning to bed at 7.30pm. Tony was able to enjoy Christmas with his family and his all his pressure areas remained intact. Since the special cushion has been in place Tony has been able to be up and independent in his wheelchair, getting back on the road in his van, having meals in his favourite restaurants with his family and living his life again. For Tony’s birthday five of the team from Alderwood took him out to one of his favourite restaurants, where everyone enjoyed food, wine and company. Tony’s mood has lifted and he is back to his cheeky and naughty self, which we all love.
Tony’s sister, Christine says, “I cannot speak highly enough of Alderwood Care Home. The team works tirelessly to fulfil every need and the atmosphere is positive and upbeat. My brother arrived eight months ago in poor health and depressed. He is now restored to his old self with all his medical needs met and his spirits restored”.
Tony is thrilled at his new zest for life and so appreciative of the care and consideration given by the home team: “The team at Alderwood has worked very hard to get me physically well and restore tissue viability, allowing me to live my life again. Praise to all the team!”
Jean Larner, aged 92, was welcomed into Alderwood in 2014 following a hip replacement in hospital. She had previously suffered a minor stroke, stage three kidney failure and stage four skin cancer. Jean was also showing early signs of dementia and was completely blind in her left eye. She hadn’t been managing very well at home and was very anxious and scared living alone.
Shortly after moving into Alderwood, Jean responded well to the loving and gentle care from the team and her health showed signs of stabilising. Having initially been residing on the nursing unit, she was soon venturing down to the residential floor, moving around much more freely (with assistance from her walking aid). Her room was relocated to the ground floor, where she could enjoy access to her own private courtyard and embrace her love of gardening.
Jean was enjoying life more and more each day, but the team were continuing to actively look for ways for her to reach her full potential.
It had been noticed that Jean was struggling in exercise classes with joint pains, so the team started thinking of other forms of exercise which she might find more enjoyable and relaxing – swimming!
When Jean was first told the idea, she laughed, “I’ve never been swimming before in my entire life, but I’ll give it a go! Why not?”
The team’s careful planning for the excursion started. Of course, when taking residents swimming there is lots of planning to ensure residents safety – the cold, slippery floors, accessible changing rooms, getting into and out of the pool, not to mention how well they respond when in the water. The team of course had to take extra caution with it being Jean’s first experience in a pool.
The team found a lovely local pool and went to investigate whether it would be appropriate. It had a large family changing area, disability access and corridors wide enough for walking aides. The water was lovely and warm, with a sloping entry as well as steps – perfect! They enquired as to when would be the best time to go and made sure there would be a qualified life guard on hand.
Team members gathered together a group of residents that were keen to take a dip. They went out and purchased suitable swimwear and slip-resistant footwear, as well as some floating noodles, which work perfectly in providing support to different areas of the body whilst in the water.
Time for a swim!
Jean absolutely loved it. “That was brilliant!” she said. “I never thought I could do it, but I did it. I think we all really need a good brandy now though!” She couldn’t wait to go again.
Her son said he couldn’t believe that after all these years she had actually been swimming. He saw the benefits to her health and wellbeing through her improved mobility and the relief she felt from her painful joints. He thanked the team for their careful planning and consideration for the excursion and the kind thought behind the idea.
The swimming excursions have already turned into a regular activity at Alderwood and the team members are loving every minute, seeing the happiness on the residents’ faces as they enjoy the water. Jean is already thinking of getting a team together for synchronised swimming – watch this space!