Life After Stroke Awards Ceremony 2017

The Life After Stroke Awards recognise and celebrate journeys of immense courage and determination by stroke survivors and carers.

The awards also recognise the compassion and unfailing commitment of individuals and organisations to rebuilding lives that have been affected by stroke.

The Life After Stroke Awards ceremony will be held in London at a prestigious venue in the Autumn 2017. Those chosen to receive an award will win a trip to stay in central London and will attend the award ceremony on the day to accept their award from a celebrity supporter of the Stroke Association.

We thought you might be particularly interested as one of the categories is the ‘Professional Excellence Award’ which recognises exceptional service in the provision of stroke care and prevention. This can include, amongst other professions, GPs, care worker, nurses, physiotherapists etc.

This year’s other categories include:

• Courage Awards
• Award for Creative Arts
• Carer’s Award
• Stroke Association Award for Volunteering
• Stroke Group Award
• Fundraiser of the Year Award

Nominations for the awards are now open and all the information about ‘how to nominate’ can be found by visiting . If you would like us to send you any nomination forms then please let us know.

All over the UK, there are people who show amazing courage, determination and compassion on a daily basis in an effort to overcome the debilitating effects of stroke. We want you to help us find them.

If you would like any more information or have any questions please email us at or call 01527 908 027.

Thank you,

Benefits an organisation gets from volunteers

Have you ever thought about the benefits an organisation gets from volunteers? When you are thinking about volunteering for your clients after neurological injury, remember a really good motivator for the client might be knowing how much an organisation needs them as well as what they are going to gain (cognitively, physically, confidence etc)

Volunteering in vocational rehab

Volunteering in vocational rehab

Volunteering is such a great way of working with clients after brain injury to explore their vocational skills, it gives them the chance to be challenged physically, cognitively and psychosocially. It also allows them to try different areas of interest without the commitment of paid work and to build confidence in their own abilities.

Why make a thermoplastic splint


Why make a thermoplastic splint when you can buy one off the shelf? Many of the static and dynamic splints that are now being produced for spasticity are excellent and provide a long term solution to people’s difficulties. However they do not always work with those clients in the initial stages of splinting, or those who have a very complex presentation of increased tone and contracture. A customised thermoplastic splint might not always look top of the range but the therapeutic value can really outweigh that. A thermoplastic splint that you fabricate can accommodate for fixed deformity but then be moulded to stretch other muscles as they require, It can also be cut, added to and altered in order to give support but also therapeutic stretch to the muscle. Our splinting goals might be to improve the muscle tone to allow someone to complete a functional activity, or it might be to prevent the condition worsening or allow for carers to assist with dressing for example.

smartphone apps for neuro rehab

I am keeping up with smartphone apps for neuro rehab and have found the Be food Smart app really useful for clients who are working on independent living skills (cookery) and budgeting for food. The app has lots of interesting and simple recipes but it also, more importantly, puts a shopping list together. It also tells you roughly where in the supermarket you might find an item. This can be of great assistance to clients with cognitive problems when they are shopping.

Vocational rehab

To support a regime of vocational rehabilitation volunteering is an excellent pre vocational activity for clients who are wishing to return to paid work, if they have been out of work as a result of their illness or injury. It allows them to build their physical, cognitive and social skills without the pressures of paid employment. It allows people to build confidence in new skills as well as re visit old lost skills.


Volunteering is also a very satisfying way of regaining occupational balance if the productivity strand has been lost after illness or injury. People have the chance to try out all sorts of different work roles to find out what might suit them and what the might enjoy and this cn be a very effective means of vocational rehabilitation.


Take a look HERE.


Also there may be volunteering websites in your local community that might be worth looking at. Many local communities also run groups for building skills such as computer courses and cookery courses.



Research projects

I am delighted to report that both research projects have now received ethics approval so it is all systems GO!! I will report on some of the interesting literature we review over the forthcoming months.

Neuro Splinting

Having done quite a bit of neuro splinting this month I have discovered that the mid position two piece splint can also be equally as effective as a volar splint if the upper limb cannot be mobilised into the mid position. By moulding the splint in two pieces it really gives you the chance to find the optimum position in both the hand and the wrist, without compromising either. I don’t have any hard evidence for this but the clients seem to tolerate the splint being fabricated more easily as not all the affected joints are being stretched at the same time.

Brain Injury Guidelines

The new Brain Injury Guidelines from the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section for Neurological Rehabilitation have now been published. These are really useful guidelines for our practice and covers the scope of rehabilitation from the acute to community setting. One of my aims for the year is to review the sections that are relevant to the rehabilitate occupational therapy service. Updates on progress will follow.



Neurological splinting

Neurological splinting

Clinicians and students often ask me my thoughts about pre fabricated splints. My advice is before thinking about the end product, ie the splint, think about the functional goal and whether splinting is indicated. The evidence for splinting after neurological injury is still very controversial so the decision to splint really needs to be made through using advanced clinical reasoning skills. I find the work of Gillen really useful, although perhaps it is dated, it gives the clinician a framework for decision making. When you do get to the point of considering which splints to use, I am yet to find a pre fabricated, off the shelf splint that meets my clients needs. This could be because of the complexity of the clients I see in terms of spasticity. I personally favour the mid position splint if it is possible to mobilise the upper limb into mid line. This allows a functional position of the hand, helps to create an overall pattern of external rotation of the arm, which can really aid functional activities. Somek Associates