Christmas comes early for 81-year old Hemel Hempstead patient as she walks again, thanks to HCT Physio and Occupational Therapist

Posted: December 19 2018

Christmas comes early for 81-year old Hemel Hempstead patient as she walks again, thanks to HCT Physio and Occupational Therapist

Rita with her HCT Physiotherapist, Jagdish Kaswala

Watch this moving account about Rita’s story.

In April 2018 Rita Blyth was getting out of her bed at home in Hemel Hempstead when she twisted her back badly. She was admitted to hospital and had to undergo spinal surgery but the prognosis was poor. Rita was told she’d never walk again. 

Rita Blyth said: “I was devastated when I thought I’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life, plus the prospect of possibly never returning to my own home. If it hadn’t been for the support from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, especially their Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist, I wouldn’t be sitting here at home today. This really is a wonderful Christmas gift, to be back in my own house and feeling more and more confident about the future.”

She and her daughters were determined that she would one day return to her cosy home, surrounded by friends, and resume her normal, active life. After moving into a care home Rita started to receive regular visits from Jagdish Kaswala, a physiotherapist from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT). Gradually she got her strength back to the point where she was able to take tentative steps with a walking frame.

Jagdish said: “We started out with some simple exercises to strengthen the lower limbs, progressing to standing, focusing on balance followed by simple step exercises. Rita has been really good at following and practicing this programme, with excellent support from her daughter Linda.”

As part of her agreed health package she was also referred to HCT community occupational therapist Lisa Farmer, who visited Rita’s home with her daughter Linda. Together they assessed what she would need in terms of equipment, such as hand rails, suitable flooring and commodes. Two weeks ago Rita returned to her home and is now looking forward to a family Christmas. Through her sheer determination and regular visits from the HCT team, Rita no longer fears the prospect of being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She loves being back at home and now has plans to venture further afield in the New Year.

HCT Occupational Therapist Lisa Farmer with Rita's daughter, Linda Lewington

Her daughter Linda said: “All I can say is that the NHS has been absolutely brilliant for us as a family. They have supported us and helped us with all our needs. All I can say is thank you!”

It looks like her special Christmas gift of being able to walk again came that little bit earlier - everyone at HCT wishes her a very healthy, happy and festive season! 

Rita Blyth and daughter Linda Lewington

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk