An unexpectedly enjoyable stroke recovery

“It is such a difficult time recovering from a stroke, but I had fun there! It is something I never thought I would say. I didn’t want to be there for that reason, but somehow, I enjoyed myself.”

At 78 years old, North Epping local Judith went to Royal Rehab for the first time. But this was not just a visit, she had become an inpatient there after experiencing a haemorrhagic stroke.

“It was a shock when it happened because I was feeling fine that day. It was 6:00pm and I was standing in the kitchen. Then, this strange feeling came over me. When I went to lift my left leg, I couldn’t move it,” said Judith.

The stroke left Judith with sensory issues and weakness on her left side, preventing her from walking. Immediately following her stroke, she received acute care at Royal North Shore Hospital. When it was time for rehabilitation, her doctors recommended that she be transferred to Royal Rehab Private Hospital.

“The evening I arrived at Royal Rehab Private, a few staff members came out to greet me. I was led to my own room where I started to settle in. The next morning, I was introduced to the team of people who would be supporting me. They each spoke to me about what I would be working on with them and explained everything clearly to make sure I understood and answer any questions I had,” said Judith.

Cameron Tanner, Clinical Care Coordinator, worked with Judith during her rehabilitation.

“When inpatients first arrive, we provide them with stroke journey packs filled with information about stroke rehabilitation. The initial days can be overwhelming, so this pack is good for clients to have on hand. They can always refer back to it later if they need to,” said Cameron.

Judith’s rehab goals were to improve balance, mobility and to walk again. Under the care of rehabilitation specialist Dr Darren Lee, Judith benefitted from a tailored program delivered via a multidisciplinary team of professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, nurses and exercise physiologists.

“The staff were very encouraging, they motivated me to exercise but also understood when I needed a rest. I can now appreciate the huge benefits of exercise, and how everything that the healthcare professionals were doing with me was important”

Luke Maddalena, Senior Exercise Physiologist at Royal Rehab, also helped Judith with her recovery.

“Exercise physiologists work on rehabilitation, but we also focus on secondary prevention. By completing a graded and progressive exercise program of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training, we can help reduce the modifiable risk factors of having another stroke. We also help clients establish strategies and exercise habits so they can remain active in their everyday lives and continue their exercise routine once they return home,” said Luke.


Outside of rehabilitation, Judith joined a walking group with a few fellow inpatients. The group would walk around and admire Royal Rehab’s impressive gardens.