When you have been in a serious motor vehicle accident, experienced a critical illness or injury, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting to your physiotherapy appointment. With mobile physiotherapy services, our team of trained and experienced registered physiotherapists come to you.

Wayne was in a life-changing motor vehicle accident in 2020. He was transported to a Toronto-area hospital with a brain injury, as well as injuries to his neck, face, left shoulder, ribs and lower leg. Over the next month, Wayne started to undergo surgeries to stabilize neck fractures, facial reconstruction, a tracheostomy and lower leg surgery.

The husband and father of two lives in a small, lakeside town located approximately 30 minutes south of Peterborough. His family travelled the 122km back and forth from Toronto regularly to be with him as much as possible during that period.

He was transferred to a hospital closer to his hometown for the second month to continue surgeries and recuperation. After his release from hospital, he was sent back to a rehabilitation hospital in Toronto for another month to begin the journey of regaining his mobility and independence.

Returning Home to a New Reality

Three months after his motor vehicle accident, Wayne was finally ready to leave the hospital, but far from the end of his rehabilitation journey. When he returned home to his family, he was still in pain in multiple areas of his body. His left arm was still in a sling. The nerve damage to his shoulder had not been repaired yet. Wayne was wearing a cervical collar and experiencing decreased sensation in face, shoulder and arm.

In addition, Wayne was having difficulty reading and sleeping. Fatigued all the time, he had low motivation and activity tolerance. He developed a sensitivity to bright light and loud noises.

Wayne was trying to come to terms with all the things he could not longer do. He had a fear of falling when walking outdoors. He also had a fear of being in cars and walking along the road. Wayne understood that he would not be able to return to work or his normal life any time soon. These new circumstances both frustrated him and made him irritable.

Small communities like Gores Landing often don’t have physiotherapy clinics that provide treatment for complex orthopedic and neurological conditions. Residents must drive to the closest big city to access any kind of physiotherapy treatment.

“I couldn’t drive after my accident, so I’d have to rely on my wife to drive me to all of my appointments. With two kids at home that would be difficult. Being in a car is also draining to my energy levels, so by the time I got to a clinic, I’d already be tired. If my therapists didn’t come to my house, I probably would not be getting any physiotherapy,” said Wayne.

The Solution: In-Home Physiotherapy Services

Wayne was referred to Propel Physiotherapy Peterborough by a community occupational therapist from Complex Injury Rehab. They understood Wayne’s challenges and were familiar with our mobile community services.

Our physiotherapy team travels to small communities across the Greater Peterborough Area, the Kawarthas, Northumberland and Hastings counties to deliver care in people’s homes or other convenient locations in their communities like parks and community centres.

In December of 2020, registered physiotherapist Christine Davies made the trip to Wayne’s hometown for his first private physiotherapy appointment. After a thorough assessment of the client’s multiple injuries, balance, mobility, coordination, and various functions affected by brain injury, a treatment plan was put in place.

This plan included manual therapy (traction, mobilizations, soft tissue massage, and therapeutic stretching) for the neck, leg, and shoulder injuries. To target balance, coordination, fatigue, and strength deficits, Christine started exercise-based therapy. They started with gentle range of motion exercises and gradually progressed to exercises that require more cardio, strength and coordination effort.

Christine helped Wayne apply for an exercise bike and exercise bands through his motor vehicle accident insurance. Having access to this equipment helped to progress exercise and improve motivation levels. Christine also provided education about recovery from chronic pain, rehabilitation from brain injury, and safe return to activities along the way.

In May of 2021, Wayne underwent a nerve transfer surgery for his left shoulder. Christine designed specific exercises to help the nerve to connect and strengthen the muscles it was attached to, as part of his rehabilitation.

Wayne was very limited in his shoulder mobility even after the surgery. He could only lift his arm to shoulder height before his body started compensating for lack of strength and coordination. After five months of consistent stretching, manual therapy, and strength training, he is now able to lift 3-5lb weights above his head with proper posture and coordination.

Progress and Perseverance

Since starting with in-home physiotherapy and regular physiotherapy intervention, his pain levels have decreased, and his strength, flexibility and endurance have improved significantly.

At the start of his therapy, Wayne required manual therapy on his neck twice a week to manage the pain. He could not turn his neck more than 50% in either direction. He is now able to go for 2-3 weeks without treatment and now has almost 100% range in each direction.

While his balance and coordination are still progressing, he has shown consistent improvements on balance assessments and reports improved confidence when walking outdoors and in busy environments. Wayne still struggles with lack of energy and fatigue, but he’s now able to do small tasks around his house while taking appropriate rests in between.

Wayne understands brain injury and his other injuries better now. He is more motivated and able to do exercise programming more independently. “By doing in-home sessions, my exercise program is tailored to what I have at home. I can try activities around the house with my physio here and work on real life goals,” says Wayne.

Working with clients in their homes allows us to truly assess their strengths and weaknesses in the setting where it is most needed and accurate. After experiencing a neurological and complex injury, this is extremely beneficial to the client and the therapist.

We can use their home environment to tailor their therapy, and we can modify the environment and equipment as needed for the best set up for the client to be successful. Personally, I find it’s also a great way to connect with a client and their family members, which usually leads to better outcomes for the client.

Having trouble accessing the care you need for a persistent or complex injury? Propel Physiotherapy Peterborough’s mobile team delivers the high-quality care you need in the comfort and convenience of your home. Call today to book your complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.

Written by

David Friesen
David FriesenRegistered Physiotherapist
David Friesen is focused on developing innovative and individualized programs to rehabilitate people who have sustained a neurological injury, including stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, as well as complex orthopedic injuries. At Propel, he pursues his passion for helping people work towards their full potential, no matter their limitations or backgrounds. The capacity for recovery following a neurological injury is his driving force.

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