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Octogenarian shares inspiring journey with Fenland rehab community to mark Stroke Awareness Month

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An octogenarian “hit for six” after losing mobility following a severe stroke has thanked the Fenland rehab centre that helped him back on his feet.

Philip Haines, an 88-year-old former secretary to the Anglican Diocese of Peterborough, has personally thanked the team at Askham Rehab, a specialist neuro-rehab community, at Doddington, ahead of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Philip was speaking out after an intensive 16-week rehabilitation programme enabled him to regain mobility on his left side, following a stroke in October 2020.


Caused by a blood clot that starved a portion of his brain of oxygen, the stroke left Philip unable to move his left arm and leg. While the blood clot was successfully removed, the stroke caused Philip to have cognitive challenges and difficulty in swallowing.

Philip arrived at Askham Rehab from Peterborough City Hospital in November, where he was assessed by the multidisciplinary team and was put on a specialist four-month programme specific to his needs.

Sara Neaves, clinical lead and outpatients service manager at Askham Rehab, said: “Philip had access to all four of our disciplines; clinical psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. It was clear from day one that Philip knew exactly what he wanted to achieve. This enabled us to set patient-centred goals with him, ensuring he was part of the process throughout his journey with us.”

Philip was able to make use of the family-run community’s robotics and sensor assisted technology. He used the MYRO table, a sensor-based surface with interactive applications, to aid upper limb movement and focus on balance, coordination, and cognitive training.

With strokes being a specialist area at Askham Rehab, Philip also performed mirror therapy, hands-on therapy and functional tasks as part of his tailored programme, which soon led to a significant improvement in his mobility.

Sara continued: “Philip was fully independent before his stroke so he was determined to get back on his feet. He swiftly improved the mobility of his left upper limb through the use of our robotics and mirror therapy. He also improved his swallowing through oral motor techniques and no longer needed thickening in his fluids.”

Philip, who returned home in late April after completing the programme, said: “The stroke knocked me for six and changed my life dramatically, but every day I was met with a group of very enthusiastic physiotherapists who were trying to bring some life back into my left side.”

He continued: “This whole journey has been a completely new experience, it’s almost like a rebirth. You always try to be positive, but it’s inevitable that you go through periods of feeling low. The team’s enthusiasm helped pick me up during those low points. We got on fine, they were very helpful, and it was a real group effort in trying to bring life back into my muscles.”

Sara said: “It has been extremely rewarding to see Philip come this far. He had a positive outlook on his rehabilitation journey with us from the offset. We’re delighted he’s now able to get back out.”

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, director at Askham, said: “Philip’s journey at Askham encompasses what Stroke Awareness Month is all about; highlighting the strategies to improve the quality of life for persons recovering from the condition.”

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