Robert a service user at the Priory Egerton Road NeuroRehab Centre
Robert was a highly paid and well respected computer analyst until in 1993 at the age of 29 as a result of a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW)** he suffered a cardiac arrest and seizure causing cerebral anoxia***. Robert was left severely brain injured his life changed forever.
He first came into our care when he was admitted to The Priory Ticehurst House, one of our acute hospitals, where he underwent a programme of intense rehabilitation with our multi disciplinary team (MDT) under the guidance of our then Consultant Neuro-Psychologist Dr Mike Oddy. Robert was at Ticehurst for 3 years and learned to cope with his cognitive disabilities. Eventually our team at Ticehurst felt that Robert was ready to take the next step in his recovery and towards his dream of living in his own home once again.
The Priory Egerton Road is a small residential home which provides a lively and supportive environment for younger men and women with an acquired brain injury (ABI) that gives the encouragement and support they need to relearn the skills required to live an independent life. Robert came to Egerton Road in January 1996 where he lived in the main house under the watchful eye of our MDT.
Roberts mum and dad lived close by and they were a crucial part of his rehabilitation. Over the years we have found that working more closely with the residents' families increases the effectiveness of our individual treatment programmes and enables the resident to achieve the next level of independence even more quickly. Following his brain injury Robert suffered severe memory problems. As part of his programme we instigated a daily log listing every activity for that day, including the basics such as shaving. We had to teach him how to shop, do housework, cook and also helped him to improve his social skills.
Bit by bit Robert regained his independence, he got a part time job working in Hastings, and he would meticulously plan ahead and buy his train ticket the night before so he wouldn't be late. After work he would get the train to his parents and stay for dinner. Robert eventually used to stay with them regularly at weekends travelling independently. After three years he moved to the annexe which prepared him for the next stage of his journey and gave him more and more control and independence. We started planning his discharge with his social worker and the council started looking for a home close to his parents. It took longer than we wanted to find Robert a house, but we weren't in a hurry, it had to be right for him.
In 2002 Robert moved into his own home near his parents and close enough for us to continue our support with an outreach package tailored to his needs. We take him to his local pub where he is now well known and has made some friends - remembering who they are from week to week has been a major achievement for Robert. On Thursday he returns to Egerton Road for a session of computer aided cognitive therapy, and on Tuesday evenings joins residents and staff for an evening at the local snooker hall. He is a member of his local rambling group and come rain or shine never fails to meet with them. He maintains an active interest in computers, regularly dismantling and fixing them.
*The name of our resident has been changed to protect the individual's identity
**Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) An extra conduction pathway to the ventricles of the heart causes the ventricles to open too soon. It's in a category of electrical abnormalities called "pre-excitation syndromes."
***Cerebral anoxia is the lack of oxygen to the brain. If severe, it can cause irreversible brain damage. Less severe cases can cause sensory distortions and hallucinations.