For International Women's Day 2024, we share just some of the remarkable resilience and strength of our female clients following catastrophic injuries and how the team at STEPS Rehabilitation are committed to not only providing specialist rehabilitation but also in creating an inclusive environment that empowers recovery and independence.  

Understanding the Unique Challenges Faced by Women 

Statistical data suggests that men are more likely to sustain catastrophic injuries compared to women. 

Acknowledging the higher incidence of catastrophic injuries among men, it is crucial to establish rehabilitation programmes that are tailored for women, being sensitive to potential nuanced differences in care and fostering an inclusive environment that addresses the diverse needs and challenges women may encounter during their rehabilitation journey. 

Creating an environment to empower recovery

At STEPS Rehabilitation, we have redefined the concept of residential rehabilitation by creating a purpose-built facility that not only delivers a range of intensive therapies and medical expertise but also prioritises the emotional wellbeing of our clients and their families. Our building is intentionally designed to create a non-clinical environment; we have created a comfortable and nurturing atmosphere. This ‘home away from home’ environment can be particularly crucial for parents facing the challenge of being separated from their family and children due to their injuries and need for residential rehabilitation. From regular visits and eating meals together, to being involved in therapy sessions or staying the night, we understand the vital role that loved ones play in the recovery process. 

Involving children in therapy sessions, can be hugely beneficial and significant for both clients and their children. For our client, Lucy, having her daughter Ellena and partner, James visit regularly and stay overnight was important being mum to such a young child. It was during a hydrotherapy session that Lucy was able to walk and carry Ellena for the first time, which was obviously hugely significant for Lucy. 

On another occasion we were able to accommodate a new mum who had suffered complex trauma injuries and required an intensive period of residential rehabilitation but naturally didn’t want to be separated from her very young child. Thanks to our independent living apartment, our client, R, and her child, were able to stay together for the duration of her stay. There was space for her mother to also stay to provide support and they had the privacy of the apartment to enable as normal as possible routine for baby L. This arrangement alleviated the burden of separation, providing a crucial source of emotional support for our client during this very difficult time and enabling her to continue parenting her child. 

Regaining independence following a catastrophic injury 

STEPS Rehabilitation place the client at the heart of each rehabilitation programme, empowering clients to reclaim their independence and pursue their goals. Whether it's returning to work, returning to the role of being a parent at home, returning to sports and hobbies or performing day-to-day tasks that are important to them.  For many of our female clients, re-learning how to apply their makeup, complete basic self-hygiene tasks, such as brushing their teeth and dressing themselves is a significant part of their recovery as it helps to rebuild their confidence and reclaim their identity.  With several skills kitchens on-site, our clients can also develop their cooking skills before their return home. These spaces can also serve as a more private area for our clients to enjoy family meals together when loved ones come to visit. 

Returning to work is often a key goal for many of our clients, following a serious injury. Our extensive team of therapists; play a crucial role in the return-to-work and home process. As an interdisciplinary team we are able to create individualised programmes. This approach, enables clients to learn adaptive strategies to manage their specific challenges, regain confidence, and rebuild skills necessary for independence and employment if possible.  

Our client, Angela, was living life to the full before her accident, balancing jobs as an accounts manager and a bartender, she enjoyed a busy social life, with a big circle of friends. Regaining these aspects of her life were an integral part of her recovery. After 15 months at STEPS Rehabilitation, Angela was able to move into an adapted apartment and is now enjoying living back in the community, seeing friends and family, and getting back to life and work. She is planning to explore a peer support role with the SIA (The Spinal Injuries Charity) drawing on her own experiences to assist others on similar journeys. She is continuing to attend weekly physiotherapy, and hydrotherapy sessions, after being separated from her family in Canada following her accident, Angela also plans to travel home soon.

Another client, Sarah, was aged 47 when she survived a basal ganglia stroke. At the time, she was working full time as a teaching assistant, treasurer of a football club and mum to 2 teenagers. After a period of intensive rehabilitation with us, Sarah was able to start a gentle, phased return to work, taking on part time hours whilst continuing with regular physiotherapy sessions. 

You can view the inspirational stories of some of our clients, here.