Yvonne was an active 83 year old living independently in her own home, enjoying walking, golf and a good social life in Cumbria. She had just enjoyed a weekend in Edinburgh with her daughter Clare and was due to be spending the day with her 2 younger sisters which she did every Wednesday. They had planned their usual trip out lunch and shopping trip and Yvonne was always the driver on her trips with her two younger sisters. When she didn’t turn up to collect her sisters they immediately knew something was wrong.

Yvonne had suffered a huge left sided haemorrhagic stroke without any warning. Her family were told she would probably not make it. The doctors told Yvonne’s family she wouldn’t regain much function and would not be able to return home so they should look for a nursing home.

Yvonne was on a geriatric ward “ I don’t like it on here” she told her daughter, "It’s full of old people!”

Once Yvonne began working with the hospital physiotherapists things began to change. “They gave us hope when nobody else had” said Claire. “It was the physios, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists that got us through the time in hospital”

A stroke survivor having rehabilitation at STEPSIt was during this time, Clare who is a Biochemist began researching rehabilitation following a stroke and read how intensive rehabilitation was recommended and so through some Internet research found STEPS. Yvonne had high nursing needs and needed 2 people to move her and so finding somewhere that could provide both the nursing care and the therapies needed was a huge relief. STEPS Clinical Director Toria Chan travelled to assess Yvonne in hospital and an admission to STEPS was then planned. Initially a month stay was agreed and it was slow progress with work concentrating on strengthening muscles in Yvonne’s hips and identifying where the issues were and working on those areas. It was a holistic approach and she was treated with a combination of all the therapies to give Yvonne the best chance of recovery. During her stay she had physiotherapy daily, gym group, neurologic music therapy, occupational therapy and much more.

Yvonne Says “It is transformational since coming to STEPS, there is such a sense of community and I love the way the other clients celebrate each other’s success. It is like being welcomed into a family, it is hard to put your finger on it but it pervades through every member of the team. There is a real camaraderie and sense of pride in what they do. Without STEPS I wouldn’t be going back to my own home. I am now able to go home and we have made some adaptations to my home and modelled the bathroom on the STEPS en-suite bathrooms. Nobody would think you wouldn’t want to go home but I would happily stay another month at STEPS. I haven’t used a wheelchair for the last 4 days!”

Yvonne’s daughter Claire – It has been a rollercoaster since mums stroke, I have grieved for what she has lost but seeing how hard she has worked and the progress she has made is joyous! I worried all the time when she was in hospital but once she was in STEPS a weight was lifted. I was initially going to rent somewhere nearby but I soon realised I didn’t need to and I was able to be at home with my family and even went on holiday. We didn’t worry at all; it was such a relief to know our mum was somewhere people really cared about her. We were provided with updates, invited to meetings but could stand back at let it happen. Nobody would choose to spend Christmas in a residential facility but last Christmas we spent at STEPS will be one we will look back on with lovely memories, it was very special. The age difference of the clients is great and the sympathy for each other having all suffered trauma is wonderful. We will definitely be keeping in touch.”

A stroke survivor having rehabilitation at STEPS

It is now 6 months since Yvonne’s stroke and she is still making progress but now in her own home. She is having physio twice a week and has some caring support going in daily being delivered by Home Instead Senior Care.