Nottingham physios helped roofer Simon Bell to walk again after a horrific 35-foot fall from roof
Marianne Flakk, a senior neuro physiotherapist at Linden Lodge neuro-rehabilitation unit in Nottingham, has praised the efforts made by a patient who is walking again after falling 35 feet from a roof on to a concrete surface. Roofer Simon Bell, 58, sustained a brain injury, internal bleeding and damage to his internal organs, as well as fracturing his shoulder and ribs on his right-side, after falling from a two-storey building last May.
Marianne said: ‘Simon had a number of complex injuries when he came to us after his accident, so we worked as a multidisciplinary team to build the foundations which would allow him to walk again. We worked closely with him to set goals to aim for which were achievable and led by him as our patient.'
She added: ‘Simon had been fit and active before his injuries, so he was determined to get back to being independent, and he was a great patient to work with and was always motivated and keen to progress in his rehab.’
Dedicated staff – motivated patient
Simon takes up the story: ‘I was in intensive care at QMC for six weeks, and my body was in shutdown. I wasn’t good – they had to remove my spleen, my liver and kidneys were damaged, and they kept pumping blood out of my lungs. I was in quite a mess.’
After a spell on the QMC’s major trauma ward, Simon transferred to Linden Lodge at City Hospital to start a rehabilitation programme devised by a specialist team, which included physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists.
Thanks to their dedication and Simon’s determination and positive mindset, Simon was out of a wheelchair in five weeks and on the road back to independence.
Simon said: ‘To start with, I had very little movement in my right-hand side – I could only move my fingers. When I arrived at Linden Lodge, I couldn’t shower on my own, walk on my own and was in a wheelchair. I wanted to be better as soon as possible, and was previously a fit and active person, so if anyone dropped out of a physio session or if any of the Linden Lodge team had spare time to fit me in, I was in the gym. I always felt better after exercise and was motivated to push myself to do a bit more.'
Simon had been fit and active before his injuries, so he was determined to get back to being independent, and he was a great patient to work with and was always motivated and keen to progress in his rehab. Linden Lodge psychologists regularly assessed Simon's brain injury, setting simple maths tests and speed exercises, for example, and he gradually began to recover.
Simon had been fit and active before his injuries, so he was determined to get back to being independent, and he was a great patient to work with and was always motivated and keen to progress in his rehab [Marianne Flakk]
Returning home involved a 'big adjustment'
Simon returned home with his wife Jo and daughter last September, but it’s been a big adjustment for them all and Simon still receives through rehab as an outpatient.
He said: 'My brain struggled to adjust, which is what happens with brain damage, so it was a big step coming home, but I was pleased to be back. I was also happy to see our cats and my Labrador Rufus again – I’m calling him my therapy dog now as he’s good for me because I have to get up every day to walk and feed him, and I think he can sense I’m not how I used to be, so he’s much more gentle now.
He added: 'My family aren’t keen on me going back to roofing, but it’s all I’ve known for 30 years, so life will look a bit different in the future.'
Radical changes are afoot
In the future, patients such as Simon will be offered intensive support at the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), which is under construction on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate near Loughborough. Jo welcomed the development, saying: ‘Simon’s care since the accident has been fantastic, and the rehab staff have been excellent. But they are trying to look after patients in a difficult environment, so I’m sure the new NRC will give them better facilities.’
The NRC will have state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities, as well as space for families to spend time together, assisting and supporting their rehabilitation journey. To find out more about the NRC, clickAuthor: I A McMillan