Last night the Olympic flame returned "home" to Britain's first para Olympic village(namely the Guttman centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital), before it's journey to Stratford today.
I know the "village" well.
It was first built for the 1948 Stoke Mandeville Games which was the precursor for the paraolympics and every year the 11 spinal injury units from around Britain still send small hand picked teams of competitors from within their in-patient population to take part in an inter-Spinal Injury Unit games,
This "small scale" mini competition is viewed very much part as a patient's rehabilitation, as it is often the very first time a newly injured individual has to "stretch their wings" so to speak
I remember these times with great affection because they were essentially a five day hard slog and party fest for nurse helpers,physios and patients alike.
At these games, the newly injured, many of whom had never left the safety of a rehabilitation unit, suddenly had freedom to experience new sports and meet new people, in an atmosphere of positivism and normality.
|Sheffield's latest team-- patients and staff members|
Risks were taken and to be honest,encouraged. Copious amounts of alcohol were drunk and many young men and women ( disabled and able bodied) had a cracking good time doing what young people from all corners of this country do when they get together, they had fun.
Rehabilitation in our modern nhs is a knotty kind of problem I think. In these days of risk assessment and litigation, I imagine it is much harder to justify the type of "seat of your pants" rehab experience we inflicted on our patients in days gone by compared to today's more careful and linear care planned-to-death experience.
Bloody hell, I remember trying to change a patient's suprapubic catheter in the middle of the night after I and he had quaffed far too many cans of cider ( our faces was smeared with half a ton of takeaway pizza btw) and all the time we were battling with this knotty problem my staff nurse "helper" was throwing up in one of the Guttman's vast disabled toilets!)
Professional? not really
Proper and vital rehabilitation?........ absolutely!