Community programs get Bill’s wheels on track

Three days before Christmas in 2014, Bill Gooley was gardening when his left arm started tingling and he felt unwell. After the ambulance ride, he remembers nothing until Australia Day. A stroke left Bill unconscious for over a month and paralysed down his left side.

He spent over three months in hospital and rehabilitation before going home. In April, Bill started receiving a range of therapy’s through Royal Rehab’s Community Rehabilitation Service which continues to play a significant role in his journey back to independence.

Bill received visits from physiotherapists and occupational therapists as part of the Northern Sydney Transitional Aged Care program. These on-on-one sessions focussed on supporting Bill to relearn essential skills.

“I worked on things like dexterity in my arm and hand, my walking, my balance, and my overall level of fitness.”

Next Bill progressed into Public Outpatients program where he participated in upper limb therapy groups. Later he joined the Empower Me group which provides peer support for stroke survivors with a focus on self-management techniques. Bill was so impressed he became a co-facilitator of the program.

Bill also joined the adaptive sport, recreation and leisure program where he received recreational therapy and access to a variety of adaptive cycles. Now, Bill rides a recumbent cycle with a cycling group which is delivering him enjoyment and friendship, in addition to the physical benefits.

Bill Gooley enjoying recumbent cycling through Royal Rehab’s adaptive sport, recreation and leisure programs.

In February 2018, Bill started the Driver Training and Assessment program. He practiced with an occupational therapist, then took driving lessons and was subsequently awarded his full license.

“After 3 ½ years without it, this was a massive boost to my independence and confidence,” explained Bill.

Through involvement with Royal Rehab’s Productive Garden program, Bill has renewed his love of gardening. This initiative enables clients to work on therapeutic goals whilst gardening, and consequently obtain the psychological and physiological benefits. Bill went on to establish a home garden – complete with chickens and raised vegetable beds.