Birthday celebrations as rehab centre turns 10

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Hidden away within the quiet village of Staining, just past the golf course and close to the Co-op, lies a special home with some special residents.

I say a home – there are actually four flats within the confines of no.58 Chain Lane – each looking after someone undergoing forms of extensive rehabilitation.

Brain injury rehab unit in Staining.

Brain injury rehab unit in Staining.

Nothing to do with drugs, nothing to do with alcohol, all the residents at no.58 – named as such to fit seamlessly with the surrounding properties – are being treated for injuries they have suffered to the brain.

Built on wasteland more than a decade ago, the modern, well presented home offers brain injury patients a new lease of life.

And now, 10 years since on since no.58 Chain Lane opened its doors and welcomed its first patients, there is every cause for celebration.

As staff and patients took part in celebrations, The Gazette visited the centre and spoke to those people who make no.58 what it is, including area manager of charity The Disabilities Trust, Maxine Prout.

“We’re quite unique, looking after four people in the flats like we do” she said.

“A brain injury can be the result of a road accident, stroke or violent 

“The rehab is all about set goals – small achievable goals we work on every day.

“We want to work with them to ensure they can do simple tasks – someone might need to be here six months, others five years.

“We take them to work placements, college and help them to lead as normal a life as possible.”

In the past 10 years the facility has looked after 15 patients – a small number on the face of it, but look into it in more detail and you see the extent of the help needed to provide major benefits to those with brain injuries.

David Birchall was 45 when he got up for work one day at his home in Freckleton.

He brushed his teeth, had his breakfast and got changed for work.

But David would never make it into the office.

The Fox’s Biscuits worker suffered a massive brain haemorrhage.

After being taken to hospital by emergency services and undergoing several operations, he was taken to a brain rehabilitation clinic in Bury.

He spent time undergoing various types of treatment, before coming to no.58 for several years, a place his sister, Anne Baxendale, called “invaluable.”

She added: “He needed looking after and a lot of care. He started to improve but he needed somewhere he could be safe – and then we found out this place was being built.

“All his care has been fantastic from the beginning. They have not just supported him, but done it right from the start.”

David was one of the first 
patients to enter the home in 2004 and, following intense support, left three years later to live in a flat in Rossall, Fleetwood.

No.58 even went as far as hiring Anne, a former schoolteacher, to work with a few other patients, including Brian Peters.

Brian, 62, suffered a brain haemorrhage at his Thornton home in 2001.

When the former taxi driver first moved into No.58 he was only able to make a hot drink and needed support with all other activities – even requiring two staff members to take him out into the community.

But two years on he progressed so quickly he could move into a Disabilities Trust flat in Rossall, Fleetwood, with reduced support.

Maxine added: “When I came here, the doctors said he would never be able to be to improve – but after two years Brian moved out into his own flat – he has a fantastic life.”

The centre on Chain Lane provides the facilities needed for those with a brain injury to live independently and at the same time receive support from a team of trained rehabilitation support workers.

A brain injury usually leaves the individual with impaired memory, reduced cognitive abilities and often increased aggression.

No.58 works to change that.

When the centre first opened, one of the major benefits was it allowed people with a brain injury to move back to their local area from other rehabilitation units across the country, and return to their local community – other similar centres being as far as Wallasey, Bury or Leeds.

An expert clinical team, including consultant psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists, works with patients every day to ensure specific rehabilitation programmes for each client.

The centre thrives from the longevity of staff, with most staying for many years.

Alex Garden, divisional manager, has worked at Disabilities Trust for 18 years.

He added: “It is very special. The organisation is a place I love. When people staff come they stay.

“In a rehab centre people focus on what is the problem but in the community it is about us regarding them as an individual. It is very personal.”

In the coming years, the Trust has plans to open a new centre in Barrow-in-Furness and continues to go from strength to strength, with the possibility of buying new properties on the Fylde coast for patients to stay in.

“I never thought it would be as good as this,” said Maxine.

“I knew it would be something unique, I knew it would be something special.

“But the past 10 years have been fantastic.”

And for those whose lives have been touched by the staff and workers at no.58, you get the sense another decade’s service would be richly deserved.