Pam praises helping hands of innovative therapy group

Posted on in Community services, Health improvement, Hospitals, Services, Staff, Support groups, The trust

A grateful patient has praised the care she received from The James Cook University Hospital’s hand therapy team, after a bad wrist break resulted in intensive physiotherapy.

Pam Pedersen, 73, from Great Ayton, says she “couldn’t have asked for better treatment” after losing the use of her left hand and being referred to Gary Rigby, a specialist hand physiotherapist.


Pam Pedersen with Gary Rigby

Pam benefited from Gary’s pioneering group therapy session after suffering a particularly bad left wrist break, caused by a slip at home.

The break, which had already caused considerably reduced strength and loss of function in her hand and wrist, also led to her needing surgery for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome – a condition that causes tingling and numbness of the hands and fingers.

However, she says the exercises she did under Gary’s guidance as part of a group of six to eight patients saw her condition improve dramatically.

She said: “Because we shared experiences and built up relationships, we looked forward to going to the hour-long sessions once a week.

“Being in a group meant you concentrated on the exercises and were shown how to do them correctly for a full hour, whereas at home you might do a few exercises and then think, “that’s enough” – or you might forget to do them altogether one day.

“It meant you had a whole hour of therapy at least once a week, at the same time as the camaraderie of the group.

As a result, the movement and strength in Pam’s hand has improved significantly – and both she and Gary are confident her condition will keep on improving as she continues to use the exercises she has been shown.

Pam added the empathy and kindness Gary showed to all his patients also made this a “wonderful” service.

She said: “Gary has so much knowledge and expertise and is also supportive and caring. He is an excellent physiotherapist running a pioneering group demonstrating outstanding and innovative practice, which truly benefits patients.

“He made a bad situation so much better for me and other people in the group also remarked on how impressed they were with their treatment.”

Gary says that everyone who finishes the six week group course sees an improvement in their hand function, as patients all come back with better scores when this is re-tested following the group course.

“I’m pleased this has been the case for Pam, as it is for the other patients who use the group service,” Gary said.

“Seeing patients like Pam improving and working in hand therapy as a whole is very rewarding.

“You don’t realise how much you take the ability to use your hands for granted and it’s a great feeling being able to help people get back to their old life.”