Patient Story: Steve’s journey of hope and determination at Royal Rehab Private Petersham

Neurological rehab Sydney

Steve, a Town Planner, had a typical Sunday night preparing for the start of another busy working week. However, his plans were abruptly interrupted when he suddenly found himself on the floor, unable to feel his left foot and arm, with his face drooping and speech garbled. Steve says: “I didn’t understand what was happening. I wasn’t even aware of what a stroke was.” 

Luckily, Steve’s wife Ange, recognising the signs of stroke, immediately called an ambulance. Steve was rushed to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where scans revealed a bleed on the brain and dangerously high blood pressure. He spent a month at the hospital, where a coordinator from Royal Rehab Private Petersham (known as MetroRehab at the time) visited him to discuss his rehab options. Steve says that his wife and he chose Royal Rehab Private Petersham for its intensive physiotherapy program and in late March, Steve began his rehab journey as an inpatient. 

During his stay at the hospital, Steve underwent occupational therapy, speech therapy, and intensive physiotherapy seven days a week. Through this, he was able to regain movement and eventually walk with assistance. 

By late August, Steve was ready to return home. Social Worker Aimee developed a discharge plan, helped Steve apply for NDIS funding so he could access the necessary at-home support, including a daily visit from a support worker and at-home physiotherapy, and assessed Steve’s home for safety, so the team could recommend necessary home modifications and equipment. 

Steve is now able to walk with an aid, only using one for safety and overall, he is feeling good. He returns to Royal Rehab Private Petersham twice a week for day rehabilitation and receives a weekly visit from a physiotherapist at home. 

Of his experience at Royal Rehab Private Petersham Steve says, “The physios, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists ended up being like a family to me, and the nurses were amazing….they were so positive, so energetic, so professional. I look forward to seeing them each week. They really support me. “ 

He adds that his stroke experience has been an ‘eye-opener.’ “Sometimes I feel as if I have been to hell and back – not just the physical challenges, but also the mental strain.” 

Also grateful for the emotional support he received at Royal Rehab Private Petersham, Steve says, “they understand both the physical and mental impacts of stroke on people’s lives and how they feel.” 

Social worker Aimee agrees that a stroke’s impacts are as much psychological as they are physical. She says that part of the role she played in Steve’s recovery was to “normalise where he was at, be an advocate, and provide him with regular counselling to help him adjust.” 

Steve’s goal is to be able to drive and return to work in early March 2023. He is also determined to be able to walk without an aid completely. When speaking about his goals, Steve says, “I will get there. 

“Everyone is friendly, and it’s a very caring place – they care about each other and all work together. It’s one of the things that I saw; they want to be there helping people, it’s not like a job to them, and they really take it seriously.”

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