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Nurses turn patient’s hospital room into ‘gym’ to aid recovery

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A 59-year-old Glasgow patient has made a remarkable recovery from a serious head injury, after his nurses turned his hospital room into a personal gym, according to a Scottish health board.

Vinnie Wallace had a fall on 13 December while out in the city and woke up in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, having sustained a fractured skull and a significant bleed on the brain.

“You need to reignite a fire, and then keeping stoking it. With Vinnie it’s been his gym”

Lorna Anderson

While recovering at the hospital, which is run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Mr Wallace mentioned to his nurses that he liked to exercise at the gym prior to his injury.

His room was subsequently turned into a gym, complete with rowing machine, weights and a yoga mat. It also has a sign saying “Vinnie’s gym” and his exercise schedule is on the wall.

Senior charge nurse Lorna Anderson said: “The outlook at first wasn’t great for Vinnie. His head injury was really quite serious.

“It looked very much that he wouldn’t be able to return home any time soon and we were looking at residential rehab options for him,” she said.

“Vinnie was also quite down and finding it hard to engage with things going on in the ward,” noted Ms Anderson.

“One day he happened to mention that before his accident he loved to go to the gym,” she said. “So, the decision was made – if Vinnie couldn’t go to the gym, the gym would come to him.

Ms Anderson described the effect of the innovation on Mr Wallace as “nothing short of remarkable”. “He’s got his cheeky streak back; his posture’s better and he’s moving much easier too. So much so, he will be ready to go home today hopefully,” she said.

She added: “It’s quite hard to explain but with a brain injury you need to find something for the patient to connect with. You need to reignite a fire, and then keeping stoking it. With Vinnie it’s been his gym.”

“These nurses are like my sisters, my best friends. They have been here for me”

Vinnie Wallace

Mr Wallace said he was delighted with his progress and the help he had received while in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

He said: “The gym has made such a difference. When it got going so did I. These nurses are like my sisters, my best friends. They have been here for me – you need to see it to believe it. They have helped me turn things around from when I was so down.

“I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the staff had time to explain things to me and believe in me,” he said. “Today I am hoping to go home – I am so happy and so grateful.”

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