Progress in Putney

A few people have been in to see Will at the specialist charity hospital in Putney, so this post contains a few pictures of how he is doing.  The hospital is The Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability and they combine clinical care with specialist therapies and innovative technologies making makes a vital difference to the lives of profoundly disabled adults with acquired brain injuries and degenerative neurological conditions, such as Huntington’s disease.  Music is a big part of rehabilitation, which will please Will as he is such a music lover.

They are fund raising for a new state of the art Therapy Hub. Rehabilitation takes place in two gyms, on the wards and in ad hoc space, which means that patients can often be seen learning to walk again along the main corridor. Both of the gyms are dated, lack privacy and are in desperate need of modernisation.

Despite these less-than-ideal facilities, they get lots of positive feedback from patients and families, and their Brain Injury Service was recently shortlisted for a LaingBuisson Award for service excellence.  Imagine how they could help their patients if they could upgrade these facilities. You can donate here –

Here are some very recent pictures of Will including the latest from his dear friends Richard and Yvonne who came up from Devon again to visit.  Thanks to all of you who have been in and I look forward to seeing more of you in August when I come over again. (For some reason I can’t post the pictures! I will attempt to fix this or post them on a new page)

2 thoughts on “Progress in Putney”

  1. I went with Claire to the panel meeting at the neuro disability specialist hospital in Putney on Thursday afternoon, as Will’s representatives. There were two doctors, Dr. Hanrahan who is the lead medical specialist, and a second doctor who supervises his drug regime. There was also his social worker, his physio / lead nurse, and a researcher who specialises in using music to stimulate brain activity. You could not have asked for a more dedicated or caring team. They took us through a long report (c. 20 pages) which covered every aspect of Will’s care and current state. The purpose of the document is to log the last ten weeks assessment and care provided, and to marshall the facts for the clinical commissioning group who will be be instrumental in deciding what happens next. The key decisions are, of course, where does Will go next and what type of care does he get. Compared to how he was in January, he looks so much better – he’s put on weight, and some time in the sun has put some colour back in his cheeks. He’s not in any danger physically (unless he catches an infection) and all his organs are functioning – except of course, for his brain. His team have noted no improvement in his responses to stimuli, and all movements are made for him, such as turning him, sitting him up, putting him in his wheelchair etc. They have to conclude that he is minimally conscious, and see no probability of that changing. All they can do, and all they can recommend, is keeping him physically comfortable. His next ‘home’ will offer both the necessary caring and medical skills to cater for his complex needs. They expect this will be from early September. I am sorry I have no better news to pass on, but the Royal Hospital team are meant to be amongst the best in the country, and would not raise any false expectation for a change in his state. I am thrilled they have been using music therapy, highly appropriate for our Willum, so he will add to an extraordinary piece of experimental treatment that may benefit others. He even, thanks to Paul Cartledge tracking down tapes, got to listen to some of his own tunes, as well as other favourites. The social worker summed it as she was showing us out. She said Will seemed like a man she’d would have really loved to have met, given everything she’d heard about him. Let’s all keep our memories of Will alive, and do what we can with our visits and gifts to add variety, interest, and love to his life – even though he may not consciously know who we are or what we are doing.

  2. I last saw Will in Lima in January. The change in him in just six months is remarkable. He looks so much better, and is looking at the camera. He used only to be able to look ahead. Despite the reservations of his excellent doctors, I still think we can hope for some improvement. It is very good to know he is seeing his old friends. The best medicine.

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