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Locala Patient supported to return to work six months after having a stroke

Please note, Chris has given permission for his story to be shared internally, on the Locala website and with the commissioners.

Chris has NOT given permission for his story to be shared with the local media, or to be used by the commissioners for their own communications.

Locala patient supported to return to work six months after having a stroke

Kirklees community healthcare provider, Locala Community Partnerships’ Therapy teams have made a huge difference to a 48 year old patient, as he prepares to return to work just six months after having a stroke.

Chris Jones, of Huddersfield, had a brain stem stroke in December 2015. The stroke left him unable to stand, walk or swallow, and with severe numbness on the right side of his face and loss of sensation on the left side of his body.

Following his referral from Calderdale Royal Hospital to Locala’s Maple Ward, an Intermediate Care unit at Holme Valley Memorial Hospital, Holmfirth, Chris began working on his mobility with the Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists on site. Chris said: “I viewed the physiotherapy as the start of my journey to getting back to how I was before my stroke. I received a lot of support, which really helped to motivate me.”

Returning home in February, Chris began working with the Therapy teams to tailor his support around his desire to return to work as a Strategy Manager. Taking small steps to build his confidence, he began a programme of daily exercises at home to improve his balance and core strength, alongside regular physio sessions at Mill Hill Community Health Centre, Huddersfield. Installation of stair rails and a kitchen trolley and bath board, helped Chris carry out day-to-day tasks more easily and he began a series of brain training exercises, in preparation for his return to an analytical role.

Integrated working between specialist clinicians within Locala’s adult services meant that Chris was referred to the Speech and Language Team, after the Occupational Therapists noticed that he was struggling to say certain words.  Locala Dieticians also helped to wean Chris back on to solid foods and provided dietary advice, after four months of using a feeding tube due to difficulty swallowing after his stroke. Chris now undertakes a series of word selection and swallowing exercises and has a much greater awareness of the importance of healthy eating.

As Chris’s journey continues, he believes the independence he has is due to the support he has received and relationships he has built with all of the Locala teams. His wellbeing continues to improve as a result of the teams’ intervention and he is now developing a programme with the Occupational Therapists for a phased return to work. 

Said Chris: ‘When I first came home I found it difficult to walk without the use of sticks and I didn’t have the confidence to leave the house on my own. Now I’m starting to drive again and I am able to go on a 40 minute walk unaided. The teams have been great at building my confidence and keeping me motivated by encouraging me to set my own personal goals. The support I have received has been unique to me as it has been guided by my desire to return to work. The teams have worked well together and I have been fully involved and in control of my journey back to work.”

Jan Spencer, Lead Occupational Therapist said: “Chris has made a remarkable recovery over the last six months. Together we - as a team - have tailored his support and treatment around him going back to work and have helped him to manage his own healthcare and feel in control. With the right help and support our patients can achieve so much and I’m really pleased that Chris is now able to start preparing for his phased return to work.”

More recently Chris has been doing the annual accounts for his local church, as part of his mental training exercises and has also been inspired to pursue his former interest in cricket by scoring for his local team, who he hopes to one day play for again. Chris said: “I feel like I’m starting to live a normal life again, though at times I still need to pace myself. I’m achieving as many of my goals as I can and I’ve even started jogging now instead of walking.”

Last year, Locala – who provide community healthcare services in Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford - was awarded the Care Closer to Home five year contract, to provide community healthcare services in Kirklees. As part of this new model of care, Locala encourages patients to maximise their independence and manage their own healthcare where possible, to help promote independent living and wellbeing.

Locala's Integrated Community Care Teams are making a difference

Please note, Shirley has given permission for her story to be shared internally, on the Locala website and with the commissioners.

Shirley has NOT given permission for her story to be shared with the local media, or to be used by the commissioners for their own communications.

Locala’s Integrated Community Care Teams are making a difference

Kirklees community healthcare provider, Locala Community Partnerships’ Colne Valley Integrated Community Care Team have made a huge difference to an 82 year old cancer patient, after helping her become independent on post-chemotherapy injections.

Shirley Balmforth, of Golcar, Huddersfield, was diagnosed in February, following her discovery of a lump near her armpit, with high grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that develops in part of the immune system.

Since then Shirley has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and was referred to the Colne Valley team for post-chemotherapy injections, to boost the white blood cells in her immune system.

Locala encourages patients to manage their healthcare wherever possible and Shirley’s desire to go on a family holiday meant that she was keen to learn how to inject herself independently. After she was shown how to do this by one of the nurses, Shirley was able to have a go at injecting herself, firstly with assistance and then by herself.

She said: “I kept thinking, I’m sure I can do this by myself. If I think I can do something I’ll always have a go. It was a big relief when the nurse said I could. It meant I could go on holiday.”

Now in her second week of injecting herself, Shirley is growing in confidence and checks her temperature every morning. The team have told her what to do if she has a high temperature and she knows she can ring the nurses for help and support if she needs it.

Said Shirley: “All of the nursing staff were friendly and supportive when they were demonstrating how to do my injections. I felt I could ask them anything and they would always take the time to listen. My day-to-day life is more or less the same, I’ve just learnt to pace myself. The team have helped me to keep my independence and for that I’m very grateful.”

Diane Brown, Staff Nurse for the Colne Valley team said: “We are really pleased that Shirley is able to go on holiday as result of being able to inject independently. There is so much patients can do if they have the confidence to maximise their independence, knowing our teams are still there for them if needed.”

Shirley is now looking forward to the family holiday, where she will administer her own injections before having further treatment.

Last year, Locala - which provides NHS community healthcare services in Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford – was awarded the Care Closer to Home five year contract, to provide community healthcare in Kirklees. As part of this new model of care, Locala encourages patients to maximise their independence, to help reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, prevent premature admission to residential and nursing care homes and promote independent living and wellbeing.