New Open Gym helping stroke patients in Swindon and Wiltshire

Great Western Hospitals (GWH) NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a new rehabilitation concept, called the Open Gym, to improve the recovery of patients who have had a stroke.

The new concept, which is based on research from Australia, means that patients who have had a stroke can attend the gym in the Swindon Intermediate Care Centre at any time of day. Previously, patients would have to wait to be taken for treatment by members of staff.

The Open Gym is already encouraging patients to spend more time practising their exercises and allows staff to supervise more than one patient at a time.

This has helped to increase the amount of time that patients are receiving with therapists, with patients now spending on average 85 minutes per day with therapists, while some patients spend up to three hours exercising. 

As consistent rehabilitation is key to recovery, it is hoped that this new approach will help patients to leave hospital sooner and continue rehabilitation in their own homes.

Exercising alongside fellow patients also benefits mental health with many patients opting to practice their exercises in this more social environment.

Rehabilitation is an important part of our care as an integrated provider, as patients move through the hospital and back into the community, receiving care from different teams throughout their journey.

Alex Christiansen, Therapy Team Lead on Forest Ward at GWH said:

“The reason we changed to an Open Gym is to increase the number of patients we can get into the gym, but also increase the amount of time patients are exercising during the day. The idea is they practice their exercise more, and get more repetitions in, which hopefully will improve their recovery and make their recovery better in six months’ time.”

The move has been welcomed by patients. Richard Parmenter had a stroke and was one of the first patients to use the Open Gym.

Richard said:

“When they showed me the gym and I came down here with the staff, I was blown away. I’m still doing exercises and remembering what they said.”

Find out more by watching the below video :