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Now five months on and Jennie is still in the Rehab Hospital receiving intensive physio and group work, which yesterday included making fudge. Jennie’s contribution was in the stirring and very tasty was the finished product in the eating.

Eating is still a major problem area, Jennie experiencing difficulty in swallowing anything other than mashed food. We are told this is due to incoordination of the muscles of the mouth and throat, so that they do not work together to pass the food down into the throat. This is really getting Jennie down as she is making real progress in other areas.

She is now able to walk with her zimmer to the dining room and sit in a normal chair and is buoyed up by the fact that she is scheduled to leave hospital in three weeks time.

Jennie is getting used to transferring to/ from our car and today was driven around the city to get used to the experience.
Five months is a long time to be out of doing normal everyday things but GBS was always ‘getting better slowly’ and thankfully Jennie is now almost fulfilling the medics prognosis.

Not surprisingly she does get very emotional but is looking forward to the day when she can cross the threshold of her new home.


Jennie’s progress in Rehab is now being monitored via a modification of the Barthel Index. The Barthel Index consists of 10 items that measure a person’s daily functioning, specifically the activities of daily living and mobility. The items include feeding, moving from wheelchair to bed and return, grooming, transferring to and from a toilet, bathing, walking on a level surface, going up and down stairs, dressing, and finally continence of bowels and bladder.

The higher the score the more “independent” the person, a score of 20 being the target score. Independence means that the patient needs no assistance at any part of the task. Having started at zero 8 weeks ago when Jennie was totally dependent on the nurses for all these functions, she is now scoring 6 which is giving her lots of encouragement. With less than 30 days before her forecast discharge date, the magic 20 score seems a long way away. Everyone at the hospital is doing what they can, especially in terms of nursing care, physio and OT to make this happen by the due date.

The staff are just fantastic as is Jennie.


November 2009
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