Elaine, who has Down’s syndrome and a number of other complex health conditions, has been attending an ECL day centre twice a week for many years. The staff are all familiar with her needs and well versed in how to manage her care, closely monitoring her so that any changes to her physical or mental wellbeing are quickly picked up.
One of Elaine’s favourite things to do is get out and about during ‘shop and cook’ sessions, which involve a short walk to the local supermarket. However, her keyworkers noticed that she was increasingly needing to take breaks during their outings and was becoming slower and less steady on her feet. She was struggling with balance problems and, over time, they observed a significant decline in her mobility. The team was also concerned that several falls had led her to feel anxious about walking anywhere at all. They decided to seek expert support.
A referral was made to ECL’s fantastic in-house clinical team, so that Elaine could be assessed and given a tailored therapy plan to get her back to full fitness. She was visited by ECL’s occupational therapist and physiotherapist at the day service soon after, who worked with her to put together a regime which set out to improve her ability to walk safely, reducing her risk of falls and increasing her independence.
By taking part in regular chair-based and standing exercise sessions, Elaine’s overall fitness levels began to improve, boosting her confidence and reducing the feelings of stress and anxiety she had begun to experience. She was also provided with a specialist walking aid – delivered to the day centre just three days after her initial assessment – so that she could get back to doing all the things she loved.
ECL’s dedicated day opportunities physiotherapist, Ilona Bojaczuk, was responsible for creating the personalised therapy plan for Elaine. She says, “Elaine is a really bubbly lady, but falls and a loss of mobility meant she was at risk of becoming isolated as she couldn’t actively participate during her visits to the day centre. If she missed her bus, she was unable to attend at all. Having Down’s syndrome means she is prone to mobility issues, but she also has a number of other challenging health conditions to consider. I worked closely with her to design an exercise programme which would keep her moving without putting additional strain on her body.”
After comprehensive training, the day centre team was able to deliver Ilona’s plan and everyone has been thrilled with the results.