Rehabilitation unit undergoes shake-up

Rev. Barbara Halstead who is one of the last 'class' of the Rowan Day Hospital NNL-140415-192121009
Rev. Barbara Halstead who is one of the last 'class' of the Rowan Day Hospital NNL-140415-192121009

An elderly woman says she is ‘incensed’ at the ending of a rehabilitation service that has hugely improved her quality of life.

Rev Barbara Halstead, 79, a Methodist minister, is among the final ten patients on a six-week course of physiotherapy and health direction at Rowan Day Hospital, Banbury.

The unit, which provides rehabilitation for stroke victims and others who need physical and occupational therapy to help them remain independent, is not accepting any new patients.

Instead, part of the building will be converted into a discharge lounge to help ease pressure on beds at the Horton General Hospital and an ‘ambulatory’ rehabilitation service will be established.

The Oxford Health Trust says GPs will now refer patients to social services care for assessment. Community therapists are said to be taking over the service.

“We were told we were the last course, although there has never been a break since the hospital was opened. It has always had a waiting list,” said Rev Halstead, of Woodhall Drive, Banbury.

“It just doesn’t make any sense. It is more chipping away at health services. I feel so incensed.”

Mrs Halstead was referred to Rowan by her GP after a series of falls, including one where she fell out of bed and was rescued after spending 27 hours on the floor.

Her treatment – along with her rehabilitation companions – was physiotherapy to help restore bodily strength and improve balance.

“We went once a week, had a session on health matters such as diet or podiatry then lunch and our physio, which has really helped. Most of us live alone; eating with others was very good,” she said.

A source close to the unit said Rowan helps people who have suffered strokes, long periods of hospitalisation or mobility problems. “They are often housebound and heavily dependent on relatives or their spouses and are likely to have carers. Any input that helps them maintain their function or regain it after illness has a significant impact on their lives,” the source said.

A trial clinic is to be held where patients will be seen by a doctor, nurse and therapists and patients referred to community services as required.

The source said: “I am concerned no extra funding is going to community therapy services.”