Imagine your life changing in one fell swoop. That’s exactly what happened to Danial after experiencing a heart attack and two strokes in 2014. Danial did not receive allied health support immediately after discharge all those years ago, which resulted in weakness on his right side (right sided hemiparesis), as well as involuntary spasms and abnormal muscle tightness (spasticity) and pain in his right arm and fingers. This left him unable to grip objects or carry out simple self-care activities, such as doing up the buttons of his shirt.
He also had trouble with his speech. When speaking to somebody, he knew what he wanted to say but could not think of the right word to use. This language disorder is called aphasia, which commonly affects adults who have suffered a stroke.
As Danial needs help with his upper limb and his speech, he would need to access help from two different allied health disciplines, Physiotherapy and Speech Pathology. He was able to receive this multidisciplinary support through Better Rehab, which has five disciplines under one roof – Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Positive Behaviour Support. A multidisciplinary work environment allows healthcare professionals to collaborate in finding the best solutions for participants, and this was the case for Danial!
Physiotherapist Kelci and Speech Pathologist Phoebe worked together to help Danial in his therapy. Working with Kelci has significantly improved his pain levels. “Danial is now able to initiate a grip with his right hand and is able to use an upper limb bike,” Kelci says.
Danial’s speech is also improving. “His word retrieval is faster than at the start of therapy, and he has learned strategies to help him ‘talk around’ an elusive word,” Phoebe says. Danial is also involved in a local aphasia group and he is becoming more confident in speaking.
Both Kelci and Phoebe describe Danial as “an enthusiastic and motivated participant”. He plans to continue to work on his upper limb function and his speech. At the moment, he and Kelci are focusing on his balance, strength and transfers, including moving in and out of bed, as this will help Danial move around safely. Danial and Phoebe will continue to work on word finding and using his communication strategies to develop meaningful relationships with others.