UCLan stroke rehabilitation experts support East Lancs Hospitals virtual rehab project

14 April 2021

Team will support and evaluate exciting scheme introduced to keep services running during pandemic

Experts from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are working with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) to pilot an online tele-rehabilitation initiative to help support survivors of stroke and brain injuries, meaning they can access help in their own homes rather than having to attend hospital.

N-ROL (Neuro-Rehabilitation Online) was funded by an ongoing campaign run by actress Emilia Clarke’s charity, SameYou, in collaboration with University College London (UCL). The service enables additional online group-based neuro-rehabilitation to people in their own homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Trust was chosen by the charity to run the service due to their commitment to providing high quality rehabilitation and their improvement of clinical services through research.

The scheme is run by ELHT’s specialist stroke and neuro-rehabilitation team, which already uses some remote interventions as part of their service. They have a clinical academic partnership with UCLan, with staff jointly working across the university and NHS.

The UCLan team, led by Professor of Neuro-rehabilitation and Stroke Louise Connell, is providing technical support to the project as well as working with the patients to assess and evaluate its effectiveness.

"We are excited to be able to offer this flagship service for our patients, and by considering sustainability we hope to be able to expand this rehabilitation further."

Professor of Neuro-rehabilitation and Stroke Louise Connell

Since the scheme began it has supported over 30 patients with a mixture of physical talking groups, and input from physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychologists, and medical and assistant practitioners.

One patient who accessed the scheme said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to have the option of carrying on professionally led physiotherapy sessions during this pandemic. N-ROL has enabled us all to keep moving and stay flexible and hopefully avoid the risk of falls and the hospitalisation that follows.”

A second patient also commented: “It is a joy to join this project and I can see both personal and repeatable benefits across a multiplicity of disciplines. I already do a high level of physiotherapy myself but not in the format which N-ROL provides, and I have felt its impact which is great as I’m working new muscle groups and working harder than normal.”

"I already do a high level of physiotherapy myself but not in the format which N-ROL provides, and I have felt its impact which is great as I’m working new muscle groups and working harder than normal."

Patient who is taking part in the Neuro-Rehabilitation Online pilot

ELHT is a key member of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Stroke and Neuro-rehabilitation Delivery Network, which forms part of the NHS national stroke strategy. Following the pilot scheme, their plan is to use a network approach to deliver the service in the North West of England, providing maximal impact in one of the harder hit areas of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The implementation of the scheme would not have been possible without funding from the SameYou charity, which was set up by actress Emilia Clarke after she suffered two life threatening brain haemorrhages whilst working on set for Game of Thrones.

Jenny Clarke, Co-Founder and CEO, SameYou commented: “We are delighted to fund a second pilot of N-ROL. By standing shoulder to shoulder with clinicians and technicians, this innovative programme will help more people and enable us to track data and impact to demonstrate the value of neuro-rehabilitation on people’s lives.”

14 April 2021