Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I bring in to Hospital?
If a relative has been admitted to Hindhead ward or the Acute Stroke Unit, we ask that you bring in some of their own toiletries and clothes. Loose fitting clothes are ideal. Shoes or slippers that offer firm support are also recommended.
When will physiotherapy begin?
Physiotherapy will begin soon after admission, if indicated, once the patient is medically stable. In the first session the physiotherapist will assess the patient in order to identify their main problems, as well as their needs and priorities. This includes looking at muscle strength and tone, sensation and coordination. They will assess functional activity, which may start with sitting balance or moving in and out of bed. Appropriate seating and methods of transferring the patient, including the provision of equipment and aids, will also be considered.
Once the physiotherapist has established the patient’s main problems, they will work with the patient to set a number of achievable goals, both short and long term. A patient’s progress and ongoing potential will be monitored.
What will treatment involve?
Treatment sessions will be individually tailored to each patient in accordance with their main problems and their identified needs and goals. Initially this may involve simply orientating the patient to their surroundings. For those unable to sit upright in bed or in a chair, their first goal may be to regain and maintain independent sitting balance. Patients will continuously be challenged, and as they progress the physiotherapist will introduce functional tasks, such as drinking a cup of tea or brushing their hair. Patients may progress onto standing with support of other physiotherapists or equipment, and then onto walking. For all these tasks the physiotherapist will work on balance, coordination and posture to ensure safety, and to maximise independence where possible. Other aspects of physiotherapy include gentle stretching, massage, and exercises to increase strength and maintain joint range of movement.
How long are physiotherapy sessions?
This varies from patient to patient. Initially sessions may only last a few minutes as the patient may tire quickly. However, as they begin to recover the length of their physiotherapy session will increase accordingly.
What happens in between treatment sessions?
The patient may be given an exercise programme for between his/her therapy sessions, if this is considered appropriate by their physiotherapist. These may include strengthening of the arms, legs and tummy muscles, gentle stretching or functional tasks, such as reach and grasp. Simple diagrams and instructions will be provided, and family members or friends may also be shown, in order to help the patients practise their exercises and incorporate them into everyday activities.
For patients with limited mobility, physiotherapists will ensure and advise on appropriate positioning. This is essential in preventing chest infection, muscle stiffness and shortening, pressure sores, pain and swelling. It may also encourage muscle activity and body alignment, support weakened limbs, and stimulate the skin and joints. Positioning charts may be put up above the patient’s bed to advise other health professionals.
What will happen upon leaving hospital?
Patients may require a longer period of rehabilitation in a specific rehabilitation hospital prior to discharge home; this will be discussed by the multi-disciplinary team and with the patient.
When patients are discharged directly home, they may receive ongoing physiotherapy in the community or outpatient setting. This will be determined by the physiotherapist and agreed with the patient prior to discharge.