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A day in the life of a stroke rehabilitation assistant
Post date: 16 Nov 2015

I’m Charmaine Norton – Hargood (in the middle of the photo), a stroke rehabilitation assistant (SRA) at MCH.  Charmaine SRA

There isn't really a typical day as a stroke rehabilitation assistant. You plan your own diary and see your own patients but every day is different and offers new challenges.

As a stroke rehab assistant you have the opportunity to work across the whole pathway which includes the acute stroke unit and wards at Medway Hospital, the inpatient rehab unit at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Sheppey hospital and out in the community (which consists of early supported discharge team and both Medway and Swale SCART teams). I work in the early supported discharge team, which offers intense therapy for up to six weeks to anyone that has been recently discharged from the acute ward.

All SRA’s work in a very multidisciplinary way and work within 3 types of therapy including physiotherapy, occupation therapy and speech and language therapy. SRA’s work closely with all qualified members of the team and have an active part in all multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings.

When visiting my patients at home I may help them with:

  • Physiotherapy – out door mobility, upper and lower limb exercises, gait analysis, core exercises, stair practice.
  • Occupation therapy – ordering and measuring for equipment, working on vision, perception, attention, memory and vocational rehab.
  • Speech and language therapy – helping patients to communicate their daily needs and working with patients who have aphasia and dysphagia (language disorders caused by damage to the brain).

Daily I liaise with outside team members to discuss patient’s progress, and to signpost patient’s on to other teams (gym referrals, Stroke Association, Telecare, GPs, and consultants).

My role as an SRA is not just to help the patients but to also help the patients family by offering support and advice when needed, as it’s the whole family that is affected by a person’s stroke not just the patient.

Within my role I set up, with support of my colleagues, a stroke survivor group which has been running for nearly two years. These drop-in sessions offer peer support to any stroke survivor and offers patients the opportunity to come and share their own experiences with other people that have been in a similar situations.

I am always looking at ways to develop within my role. I am currently in the process of setting up a new Stroke Carers Care group, which starts in a few weeks’ time. The new group is aimed at carers who are looking after stroke victims. The group will offer peer support and basic teaching sessions around stroke and the affects it can have on people and their families.

I also attend health promotion events where we take people’s blood pressure, pulse checks and give out advice.

There is a lot of responsibility within my working role, for example, acting on safe guarding issues, supporting patients with social issues, informal counselling and mental health issues.

As an SRA working alone in the community you have to be prepared for any situation that may arise it could be that a patient has told you they have taken an overdose, a patient having a fall or even having a new stroke event. These situations would lead to me making big decisions around what happens next to that patient – do I call an ambulance, do I notify the persons next of kin, do I carry out basic first aid skills? You have to be prepared to make decisions quickly.

Even though being an SRA can be demanding and sometimes stressful, it is the most rewarding job, watching your patients progress and develop after their stroke and achieving so much is the best feeling, knowing that you may have made a difference.

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