When James Hennessy’s hydro pool physiotherapy sessions were cancelled at the start of lockdown 2020, his family decided to explore other ideas and activities.
The Gravesend family heard the Cyclopark was still open and offering sessions for people with disabilities on a new specially adapted bike.
Trying new things doesn’t come easy to James, who has cerebral palsy and learning difficulties, but he’s now keen to come each week and the sessions have benefitted both him and his family.
His sister Joanna Miller, who rides with him, explained: “The change in James has been huge. It’s helped with his state of mind, not to be stuck at home with mum.
“He was spending all his time in bed because everything was closed, not getting out or doing anything. He can only focus so much on exercise programmes, so he needs to want to come to sessions.”
The smoother ride helps him, he doesn’t have to push the pedals as hard but gets just as much benefit from it. He really enjoys it and it’s easier for me to help get him round the track!”
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner, David Hedley says the new bike has made a huge difference to patients.
“It offers a much smoother ride, it doesn’t squeak as much and as it’s less difficult to get moving. It means that patient and carers enjoy riding it more. It’s much better as a rehabilitation tool than the older bike.
“It has dual controls so riders can increase the amount of steering and pedalling they do as they grow in confidence and build muscle strength and muscle memory, all while having fun.
“This is so much better, and everyone wants to ride the new bike!” .
Biking through the bad times
Joanne Badenhorst, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist for the Dartford, Gravesend, Swanley and Swale Learning Disability Team says the new Fun2Go bike has supported people’s mental and physical health during difficult times.c
She said: “When we went into lockdown, centres closed, activities closed and hydrotherapy pools closed. Many of our patients have several medical conditions to consider. They were told to shield and stay indoors. It was very isolating and many became anxious about leaving the house.”
“Being able to offer sessions at the Cyclopark during the pandemic meant that patients whose mobility had deteriorated or who had started to have falls due to isolating and consequently not moving much, were able to build up their strength, exercise tolerance and confidence.
“In a number of cases this has meant patients have regained, and in some cases, even improved their level of mobility and it is likely that it has kept some of them out of hospital.
“Having a second Fun2Go bike means we can see more patients who need that level of side by side support, adjustment and positioning.”
Find out more about our Community Learning Disability Team at www.kentcht.nhs.uk/community-learning-disability-team
It’s all thanks to i care
The physiotherapy team applied for funding from KCHFT’s charity i care to buy a second specialist side-by-side bike to meet the growing demand.
The adapted Fun2Go bike allows individuals to ride with the help of their carer by their side.
The generous i care donation means now more riders can enjoy the wind in their hair and a smoother riding experience as part of their rehabilitation and fitness programme.
Cyclo 4 all
Sessions at the Cyclopark Gravesend take place every Wednesday morning for anyone with a disability. There are also one-to-one rehabilitation sessions on Fridays for people with learning disabilities.
To join, book directly through the Cyclopark. Phone 01474 831400.
If you are interested in joining the physiotherapy sessions for adults with learning disabilities, you can self-refer. Phone 0300 123 4195.
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