Who are we?
Hi. Sense Ability Therapy CIC are a not for profit rehabilitation company based in South Devon. We specialise in helping older people and those with neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and many more regain their walking, balance and quality of life.
It is estimated that 30% of the population are living with 1 or more long term condition. Increasing pressures on the NHS have meant people are being discharged home earlier and more people are living at home with significant disabilities. As an example, in 2001, the average length of hospital stay after stroke was 34 days, now 50% are discharged in 7 days or less. (Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme) In a recent survey 45% of stroke patients feel abandoned when they leave hospital (Stroke Association). The pressures of increased numbers of people with long term conditions and reduced staffing is causing similar outcomes in many other conditions and for older people in general. South Devon in particular has a higher than average elderly population with a rising falls risk. Rehabilitation (in hospitals) now work around a concept of “safe discharge” rather than principles of increased independence physically, socially, psychologically and emotionally. (Perspectives in Rehabilitation, Enderby and Pandyan, 2016)
We founded Sense Ability Therapy CIC to try and bridge the growing gap in rehabilitation provision for those with significant disabilities. We currently provide physiotherapy and exercise classes to help people continue to recover with support and get back to enjoying their lives.
But we want to do more! A lot of people want somewhere they can go where they can access specialist information and support for their condition as well as meet others who understand what they are going through. Put simply- somewhere they can ask questions, get answers and find support without making appointments or sitting on waiting lists. Somewhere that can support all the difficulties they face; physical, emotional and psychological whatever their age or level of disability.
Current services are orientated around single diseases and fail to provide well-coordinated care to a growing number of people with multiple health problems. Naylor et al (2012) believe peer support may play an important part in empowering people…to manage their own condition. (Centreformentalhealth.co.uk)
We want to run a monthly club called Café Therapy. This will be a place where people can come and get the answers and support they are looking as well as physiotherapy support in a friendly, social café style environment. Over the two hours there will be talks, the opportunity to exercise with support and the chance to chat and meet new people.
A key part of this group will be a piece of equipment called MindMotion Go which is a Virtual Reality system adapted to the needs of those with disabilities. It makes exercising fun and can be used independently and as part of a group. We have trialled it at our clinic and have seen the benefits in action. It helps retrain upper limb movements, balance and stepping.
The idea is that the club would be self sustaining through small attendance fees and grant funding or social prescribing. However, in order to reach that goal we need to prove it works. We want to trial the programme for 1 year and gather data to demonstrate the benefits to the community to secure the club’s long term survival.
We desperately need help to fund this project to get it up and running and keep it accessible to all.
The potential benefits to the Community are huge. Not only will people have a place they can turn to for support both socially and clinically, they will be improving their activity levels and potentially preventing the occurrence of secondary problems that often occur with long term conditions such as depression, anxiety, pressure sores, falls and contractures. This in turn reduces costs and pressures on the NHS.
This is an all or nothing campaign, so if we don’t raise our target we will be unable to run the trial. If, however, we are fortunate enough to raise extra funds through stretch funding this will enable us to fund external speakers and run additional sessions. We would love for this to become a real hub for the Community and to serve as a template for others to be run around the country.
We hope you will support this project which could be a real lifeline for people living in the Community with disabilities. Every penny will help!
Thank you for your time.