Recovery via recumbent bike

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Recovering from a broken pelvis, Pam Kent, 85, knows she needs to regain her strength, endurance and mobility before she can go home. The Martins Brook woman is focused on that goal, which brings her to the recently expanded gymnasium at the Arthur H. Patterson Centre for Restorative Care (CRC) to begin one of two daily workouts.

Restorative care helps people maintain or regain their independence after an illness or injury. This could include patients recovering from a stroke, amputation, fracture or orthopedic procedure such as hip or knee replacement, as well those who have lost strength and function due to illness or hospitalization. 

“Getting us back to our own home is the objective and they don’t let us go until they feel we’re able to do that,” said Kent. “This is a great bridge to make the transition from hospital to home.” 

This is Kent’s third time as a patient at the Lunenberg centre – the first six years ago after a broken femur and again last year while recovering from a broken tibia. But this time she is benefiting from an expansion that has more than doubled the size of the space available for physiotherapy and occupational therapy, which are fundamental to restorative care. 

The centre has also benefitted from the addition of new and updated equipment, which includes a specialized system for balance assessment and training, a sophisticated NuStep (recumbent cross-trainer) and a new fleet of specialized wheelchairs.

“It’s wonderful. It makes room for more equipment and more people can be treated at the same time and more often,” said Kent, while working on her strength and conditioning in the space overlooking the Lunenburg Harbour. “Plus it has one of the finest views in Town.” 

The project was made possible through a generous gift from the J&W Murphy Foundation in memory of Janet Murphy who had been a patient at the CRC following a major stroke in 2012. 

Though it was challenging time, both Murphy and her family felt supported by staff and patients and wanted to do something for them in recognition and gratitude. While she loved and appreciated her therapists, she was not fond of the gym space, finding it crowded and lacking in privacy. The J&W Murphy Foundation worked with the Health Services Foundation of the South Shore and CRC staff to improve the space for patients and staff. 

“We are so proud to see the new Gym come to life,” said a spokesperson for the Murphy family. “We had first-hand experience with the caring and supportive staff at CRC during a challenging time for our family, and we count ourselves fortunate to have had access to this tremendous resource in our community. We can think of no better way to honour the memory of our wife and mother Janet than by helping to support the essential rehabilitation services work and the outstanding people at CRC.”   

While staff and patients have been using the gymnasium for several months, Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Health Services Foundation were joined by members of the Murphy family, staff, patients and community to celebrate the official opening on June 18. The CRC is located at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community that embraces giving for the benefit of others and today we celebrate another example of that generosity,” said Trudy Johnson, chair of the Health Services Foundation. “On the eve of what would have been Janet’s 81st birthday, we’re very proud to honour her family’s generosity and to dedicate this wonderful space to Janet’s memory.”