Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Cullyhanna stroke survivor backs PREP rehabilitation programme

A Cullyhanna woman who took part in a Southern Trust programme to help stroke survivors rebuild their lives has encouraged fellow stroke sufferers to take part in the initiative in order to increase their physical and mental confidence.

PREP – the Post Rehab Exercise Programme – was developed by the Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) in partnership with the Southern Trust.  Last year 171 patients in the Southern Trust area were referred to the physiotherapy led, community based course which helps rebuild people’s lives and confidence following a stroke through exercise and education.

The PREP programme is now set to be made available to people throughout Northern Ireland.

Cullyhanna farm owner, Mary Lockhart was referred to PREP after suffering three strokes which left her with weakness on one side.  The local woman credits the course with teaching her to listen to her body and providing her with the motivation to increase her physical and mental strength.

Out on the farm, the determined stroke survivor continues with the exercises learnt on the programme while feeding her cows and tending to her farm duties.

Speaking about the province wide roll out of the programme, Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust explains,

“We want to help people to regain their independence as much as possible and as quickly as possible following a stroke, so after their discharge from hospital, our community team of specialist nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and rehabilitation assistants, provide intensive support to clients in their own homes for 12 weeks.

“We also work closely with the community and voluntary sector, with organisations like NI Chest Heart and Stroke to offer continuous ongoing support once this rehabilitation period ends.

“PREP was developed to help people who have had a stroke to restore their self- confidence and ensure that they can continue their ongoing rehabilitation following their stroke.  We are delighted that NI Chest Heart and Stroke’s programme,  which we worked in partnership with to develop, has been adopted as a model of best practice and will help to ensure that stroke survivors across Northern Ireland have the best quality of life that they possibly can.”

Clients can be referred to PREP for up to one year post stroke.

For more information on PREP contact Noelene Hughes, Area Services Manager, 07764211536