Home rehab gets Rex back on his bike

Epworth

Key facts:

  • Rehab in the Home sessions double during pandemic
  • Helping hip and knee replacement and spinal surgery patients
  • Usually eight sessions over six to eight weeks.

I have enjoyed enormously having rehab at home. I am not going to sit in front of the television. I am going to get going on the rehabilitation and do as much as I can.

Rehabilitation in the home has helped a determined Burwood man get back on his bike.

90-year-old Rex Fettell had years of knee pain, impacting his ability to walk. He elected to have knee replacement surgery at Epworth Richmond.

Epworth physiotherapist Megan Kiteley worked with Mr Fettell, who opted to undertake the rehabilitation in the home.

The 90-year-old even set up a mini gym in his backyard to carry out his exercises to get back on his bike faster.

“As soon as I got home, I thought I have to set up a gym,” Mr Fettell said.

“I’ve got an exercise bike, a handrail and some step-up boxes.

With rehab in the home and his home gym, Mr Fettell could go at his own pace in his own time.

“I thought I have to work on this; I am not going to sit in front of the television. I am going to get going on this and do as much as I can.”

“I have enjoyed enormously having rehab at home because I get to meet with Megan once a week. I can go and do things inside and outside, like wash the car and work up to mowing the lawn.”

A great patient

Mr Fettell’s rehab in the home physiotherapist, Megan Kiteley, said he has been a great patient.

“Rex is one of the most motivated patients I have ever worked with; he’s incredible,” Ms Kiteley said.

“He taught me to never put limits on what I think someone could achieve.”

Despite his age, Mr Fettell has excelled in his rehabilitation.

“Rex is well suited to rehabilitating at home, as he is highly committed to his exercises. It was exciting to progress to the point when we were able to practice getting on and off an exercise bike, as this was his goal.”

Mates on bikes

For the last six years, Rex and his wife Bev have been part of a group of 80 people who formed Mates On Bikes (MOB).

Mr Fettell said usually about 30-40 MOB members gather for social rides at seven o’clock on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, making their way to either Jells Park or Knox Shopping Centre.

“When we get there, we fix up the world’s problems over a coffee,” Mr Fettell joked.

He has swapped his upright bike for a e-recumbent bike based on his physio’s advice and is back riding up to 30 kilometres each time he joins MOB.

On sunny days Rex and Bev ride together to meet friends for coffee at various locations, enjoying exercise, fresh air and social contact which all help promote more rapid recovery.

Thousands undertake Rehab in the Home

Since COVID-19 began, the number of Epworth rehabilitation in the home sessions undertaken by hip and knee replacement and spinal surgery patients has doubled.

Jeremy Buckmaster is the Community Rehabilitation Manager at Epworth Rehabilitation and Mental Health.

He says Rehab in the Home has become increasingly popular.

“Throughout the pandemic, people adapted to working from home, remote learning from home, and doing rehab in the home,” Mr Buckmaster said.

“For a lot of patients, the days of needing to spend seven nights in hospital, being cared for by a nurse, while they are doing physiotherapy during the day are gone.

That’s been replaced by an average of eight rehabilitation in the home sessions, over six-to-eight weeks.

“There’s research to show the outcomes are the same, but for some people they do better in the home because they are with their family and back in their own environment.”

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