Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team helping Cora get back on her feet again
In 2014, a series of medical events turned Cora King’s world upside down, but the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team helped make her world right again.
Cora, then 37, was living in a tranquil rural setting in Middlesex County, leading a busy life caring for her husband and two young boys and working at her dream job in a Community Health Centre. She had the first inkling something might be wrong when she started dropping things. Next she began having trouble remembering how to walk. But it was when her legs wouldn’t work at all during her Pilates class she knew she needed to seek medical help right away.
After many hospital visits and diagnostic tests, Cora was given the devastating news she had a brain tumour. To compound her medical situation, next she had a seizure, then pneumonia, and a blood vessel in her brain ruptured resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke. She was gravely ill, but fine medical care, the love and support of her husband, and her steely determination carried her through.
How the CSRTs help
Once Cora’s health stabilized, she continued her recovery at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute. Finally, in January 2016 she was discharged home. That’s when the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team (CSRT) swung into action. “The health care professionals on the CSRT come to clients’ homes to provide intensive therapy so they can achieve their rehabilitation goals,” explains occupational therapist (OT) Martha Scott. “We take a very holistic approach to care, so clients can become more independent and reintegrate into their community.”
As an OT, Martha helped Cora relearn activities of daily living such as dressing, showering, and cooking. The physiotherapist helped Cora learn to walk again, and the speech language pathologist and OT assisted her with thinking skills such as memory and scheduling. With Cora’s right arm and hand affected from the stroke, the therapeutic recreation specialist taught her colouring and knitting activities to help retrain hand dominance. The social worker supported Cora and her husband in addressing their new family roles, and the nurse provided education about medications and healthy lifestyle choices. Finally, the rehabilitation therapist practiced the therapy plans developed by the regulated therapists to provide Cora with comprehensive, ongoing therapy so she could meet her goals.
With Cora King’s right arm and hand affected by the stroke, Occupational Therapist Martha Scott, right, helps her learn new ways to do daily tasks such as washing dishes.
“I believe one of the reasons Cora had an incredible recovery is because she is so motivated,” says Martha. “I wish she could meet other stroke survivors so they could see how life can continue after stroke.”
“My desire to be independent outweighed my frustration with my physical limitations,” says Cora “I didn’t want anyone to make any special accommodations for me.” The members of Cora’s church were very supportive and offered to alter a pew so her wheelchair would fit. “I said no thank you; they were amazed when I walked into church with just a quad cane.”
These days Cora is once again living a full and busy life managing household chores like laundry and gardening, attending a day program twice a week, having a PSW in daily to help with tasks, going to her children’s activities and socializing with friends and family.
Cora tending to her garden
With her can-do attitude, Cora’s advice to others who have had a stroke is, “Never stop trying—if you think you can you will.”
The three Community Stroke Rehabilitation Teams
in the South West LHIN are located in Grey Bruce, Huron Perth, and Thames Valley, with referrals to the three teams managed centrally at Parkwood Institute.