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Music, love, and faith gives hope to stroke patient after 108 days in hospital

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The family of a stroke patient who was admitted to hospital for what was expected to be ‘end-of-life care’ have praised staff for assisting her recovery.

Christine Mason (79) suffered a ‘catastrophic’ stroke at her city home earlier this year and was admitted to Peterborough City Hospital where her family were told to prepare for the worse.

Her great niece, Amy Bohan, said: “We were told that that she would probably never walk or talk again and towards the end of three weeks of her being in a coma, to make arrangements for end-of-life care.”

But after 108 days in hospital, Christine has recently left the stroke unit to continue her rehabilitation at a local brain injury centre.

A former Sunday School teacher and talented musician, Christine had spent six weeks living in her new home, after Amy helped to relocate her (and Christine’s five cats) from France where she had lived for 20 years.

Christine with her violin over 50 years ago.

Christine with her violin over 50 years ago.

Amy said: “It was so lovely to have her around and to make a fuss of her, so the stroke was a completely devastating shock.”

She added: “Music and faith have always been very important to her and a big part of our family as Christians, and we see Christine’s recovery as something of a miracle.”

As well as the excellent medical care Christine received at Peterborough City Hospital, Amy believes that a form of ‘music therapy’ introduced by the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy team has assisted in her great aunt’s recovery.

Sheena Bedborough, senior therapy assistant at North West Anglia NHS Trust, and her colleague Agnieska Koczur have recently been treating stroke patients on Ward B11 as part of the Therapy Team – playing familiar songs and music to provide an additional therapeutic input, which the patients enjoy through movement and memory stimulation.

Sheena said: “The response from the patients has been incredible. Christine in particular has responded exceptionally well; we play familiar songs and started to take in a guitar – knowing her love of music and previous fondness for playing this, the cello, and the violin as part of her church group.

Agnieska Koczur and Sheena Bedborough from Peterborough City Hospital’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy team with stroke survivor Christine Mason

Agnieska Koczur and Sheena Bedborough from Peterborough City Hospital’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy team with stroke survivor Christine Mason

“Despite restricted movement, Christine was able to engage with the guitar and it was so rewarding to see.

“We have received some really positive feedback from patients (and their families) who look forward to us going onto the ward. We play everything from ABBA classics to familiar Rock n Roll tunes we can put movement to.”

Amy added: “I am so thankful that after a stroke that almost took her away from me that my Great Aunty Christine is now doing much better, and I can spoil her even more.

“I can’t thank the staff at North West Anglia NHS Trust enough – particularly those on the stroke ward and in the Chaplaincy team for their excellent care and compassion.”

 

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