“HCML helped me get back on my feet and start to regain some independence”

Keith Backley had no idea of the journey that he would go on facing his devastating road traffic accident, but life changed out of all recognition after Laura from HCML got involved.

The 38 year old North Tyneside man had suffered a complicated broken leg injury and two healing cracked ribs, which had left him housebound, stuck in his flat when HCML first assessed him, unable to bear weight on his leg and very reliant on his mother for support.

The complexity of his injury meant that he was non-weight bearing and pretty immobile when case manager, Laura, first met him. To help Keith achieve the best possible recovery and become as independent as possible she needed to put a co-ordinated rehabilitation programme behind him. Laura helped him to get funding for travel for physiotherapy sessions.

After a year of intensive rehabilitation, physio and practical support including specialist bathroom and seating equipment, Keith had made “remarkable progress” on his life journey, according to everyone around him.

One year on he was travelling independently by bus, first with two crutches and then just one. He had secured a placement in a local YMCA community centre and had started exercise classes. He soon found his confidence in these classes and progressed so well that he moved to a gym and worked on a programme set up by instructors.

Keith said that his quality of life had improved with more physical and social confidence, and this was making him more independent and getting him back to being a more normal human than he had felt since the accident.

Having had the rehab team support to co-ordinate his care, he reported himself able to take control and do it on his own, knowing if he couldn’t he just had to talk to Laura.

He had benefited from the formal physio sessions and the NHS, but was now able to perform light circuit training exercises on his own, in seated and standing positions. Eventually when he no longer needs the assistance of a crutch his mother and sister are ready to take him swimming again while supporting him in his recovery.

As he explained to Laura – who he calls “a superstar, one in a million” – adding “I will always be thankful to her” – he was optimistic about his future. He said the months of recovery had seen him become much happier and more proactive about work. He had “turned his life around and was moving on with his life” and looking forward to learning new skills in his computer-based voluntary job role with the Royal Voluntary Service.

He said that he had surprised people by the progress he was making and was determined to mobilise without his elbow crutch in the future.   He was certainly no longer reliant on others for personal and domestic life support and had regained much of the independence he valued.

Keith said: “Everything was absolutely spot on with HCML and Laura who also put a lot of work and effort in, and between us we got there. When I first started I couldn’t get out of the house at all. She was absolutely wonderful and I would not be where I am now without her.

“I would recommend HCML to anyone in the same predicament. Thank you to the rest of the HCML team as well as they also found me free online training when I was house-bound.

“So a big thank you to all of HCML for being there, especially to Laura and Lorna, and thanks to the NHS, my private physiotherapist and my family for all the support.

“I have to add that without the people being there I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as I did. Without the help from Laura and HCML I would not have found my confidence and mental wellness.”