18 May 2022

Supporting Patient Rehabilitation And Recovery

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Thanks to donations received through our NHS Lothian COVID-19 Appeal, and grants received from NHS Charities Together, the Robert Fergusson Unit at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital has been able to buy an all-ability bike, adjustable basketball hoop and a touchscreen tablet for training apps, helping them to enhance rehabilitation and recovery.

The Robert Fergusson Unit (RFU) is Scotland’s national NHS neuro-rehabilitation service for patients with acquired brain injury and associated behavioural disturbance. Patients in the RFU, like most inpatients, found it difficult during COVID-19 with visiting restrictions in place and excursions from the ward temporarily stopped.

To aid ‘return to normal’ once restrictions are lifted, and as part of the rehabilitation service more generally, funding was requested to purchase an all-ability bike, an adjustable basketball hoop and a touchscreen tablet.

The specialist bikes have given disabled patients on the ward, who have balance and mobility problems, the freedom to cycle in a safe and supervised way. They have been a huge hit!

A height-adjustable basketball hoop was also purchased to help rehabilitate patients and was hugely beneficial during lockdown. Patients, including those in wheelchairs, have been able to play in the secure courtyard with staff support, re-learning co-ordination skills.

Staff and patients have also been able to play together, which is helping to improve the socialising and teamwork skills of the patients too. The fact that the hoop is adjustable has also meant that mobility-impaired patients have been able to use it from a wheelchair. One member of staff said:

“it’s the best thing we’ve ever bought

With patients echoing that sentiment:

“It is brilliant.”
“The bike is ace!”
“It is exhilarating, you feel immediately better when you are on it.”
“Being on the bike makes you smile.”
“It is good to exercise outside.”
“It is good that two people cycle together.”
“People passing by smile and speak to you and ask you questions.”

A touchscreen tablet was also bought to extend the improved rehabilitation facilities and cover all weather conditions. The tablet has been loaded with NHS-approved rehabilitation training apps which are in use by neuro-rehabilitation specialists, and which are now being offered to patients in the RFU too, including those focused on physical activity (e.g. Just Dance Now, Pocket Yoga, and 7 Minute Chi), relaxation (e.g. Breathe2Relax), and cognitive rehabilitation (e.g. Cognifit).

There have been many patient benefits to purchasing this equipment:

  • The general health benefits of making it easier to exercise with improved strength and co- ordination.
  • The bike and basketball facility have given the rehabilitation team more management options in guiding patients towards physical recovery.
  • The fact that the tablet can be used in indoor settings too has enabled better rehabilitation even during spells of bad weather, both during lockdown and ongoing.

“It’s been wonderful having the bike and the hoop, particularly over summer to allow patients a chance to get off the ward and go around more of the grounds than they might have managed otherwise. We can’t thank you enough.

With your continued support, we can do even more!