Supporting Nick back to health | Avenues Group

Supporting Nick back to health

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

When Nick suffered a severe stroke in 2019, consultants said that he was fortunate to be alive. The future looked uncertain for a man who had always been described as a ‘live-wire’. For support worker Anthony Johnson, who has worked closely with Nick for eight years, it was a worrying time.

Mel Bentley was Service Manager when Nick had his stroke  “It was a complete shock when it happened; he was having a bath when we heard his cry and then found him just lying him there. Nick was always so active and healthy, so it was completely out of the blue, and we didn’t know what it was, just that something catastrophic had happened. The time he spent in hospital was incredibly worrying for his family, who he is very close to, and us. We had supported him for more than 20 years and have a really strong connection and rapport.

Nick prior to his stroke enjoying a walk

Nick’s father Dr Walker recalls the moment “the sky fell in on us that day and on him of course. We weren’t quite sure of the level of damage and they [the doctors] were unable at that time to say how much he would recover.”

It transpired that Nick had had two strokes, but would live “We breathed a huge sigh of relief. But we knew that his life and support needs would be dramatically different, and that we had work to do.” says Mel.

The long journey to recovery began when Nick eventually came out of hospital.

“As a team we were committed to doing everything we could to somehow get him back on his feet. We knew his days of running round in the park might be gone, but we just wanted him to have the best quality of life possible. And for Nick that means movement and getting outdoors.

“None of the team had any previous experience of dealing with stroke rehabilitation, so we arranged training that would equip everyone with the skills and knowledge to give Nick specialist support based at home at his at his service –  Holly Lodge.

“It was really tough as he didn’t know what had happened to him, due to his learning disability. The damage caused by a stroke can cause huge frustration and confusion for anyone, so for Nick it was doubly tough. But we’ve been amazed by his recovery – he’s always been a determined man and his progress is a tribute to his strength of character, the love of his family and a support team who are dedicated to doing their very best for him.” says Mel.

The team and Nick’s family admit it hasn’t been an easy road, especially with the onset and progression of the Covid pandemic but Nick continues to improve every day. For Anthony who has a close bond with Nick it’s a great relief “when you work with someone for so long you develop a relationship with them and I’m pleased to be part of his recovery programme. It’s a slow road but he’s getting there” he says.

Note: All filming was carried out prior to  Covid-19 restrictions.

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