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The new neurorehabilitation: outdoor & socially distant


02 June 2020

A Lake District charity has developed the UK’s first COVID-19 compliant brain injury rehabilitation programme combining traditional clinical therapies with physical activity in the outdoors.

The new residential neurorehabilitation centre for people with acquired brain injury is creating the ‘new normal’ with it’s COVID -19 compliant activities which focus on activities such as rambling, fell walking, fishing, gardening, horse riding, orienteering, cycling, canoeing and sailing.

Located on the outskirts of Keswick in the Lake District, Calvert Reconnections is uniquely placed to incorporate social distancing into its programme. Its newly developed services include post lockdown respite and post COVID-19 step-down rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation 'won't wait'

NRC Medical Expert Chair Professor Mike Barnes has been dedicated to the development of neurological rehabilitation throughout the UK and internationally. He believes rehabilitation provision has been driven to crisis point by COVID-19 with services facing disruption and closure due to social distancing, shielding requirements, lack of specialist support and funding.

Professor Barnes, who also acts as an expert advisor to Calvert Reconnections said:

“This ground-breaking new programme, combining traditional interdisciplinary clinical therapies with physical activity in the outdoors, will put the UK at the forefront of brain injury rehabilitation on a global scale - because rehab won’t wait.”

The impact of COVID-19 on neurehab services

The crisis facing rehabilitation services has come into sharp focus in recent months.

This month, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) gathered support of MPs from across the UK’s political spectrum for its call for the Health Secretary to prioritise rehabilitation for those affected by COVID-19, with Chief Executive Julia Scott predicting “a tidal wave of need”.

The British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine shared their concerns in their recent report into the impact of COVID-19 on the neurorehabilitation sector. The sector is likely to be hit by both an increase in individuals requiring rehabilitation following post-COVID complications and intensive care stays, as well as the backlog of rehabilitation patients who were unable to access services during lockdown and whilst shielding.

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