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Residents, relatives, staff and volunteers put through their paces during Therapy room open morning

The Royal Star & Garter Homes’ Communications Officer Goolistan Cooper went to find out what makes the Charity’s physiotherapy services so special…


There are many things that help The Royal Star & Garter Homes stand out from the crowd. Its award-winning and pioneering care, illustrious history, and connections to the military and royalty all spring to mind.


Another thing which impresses is the in-house physiotherapy service our Homes in Solihull and Surbiton – and High Wycombe when it opens in 2019 – all have.


To understand the importance of this service – which all residents have access to – and the excellent team of physiotherapists and physio assistants who work in it, look no further than the residents and their relatives.


As Communications Officer, part of my role involves talking to residents and families about the Charity and how it helps. Nearly everyone I speak to makes special mention of the physiotherapy provided and how it improves balance, strength, or mobility.

Goolistan with physiotherapist Geneen

So when the physiotherapy team at Surbiton opened their doors for residents, their relatives, staff and volunteers to try out equipment, the Charity’s Digital Manager Ilario and myself jumped at the chance to have a go.


We found equipment which would not look out of place in a modern gym to put residents through their paces. The Charity trials a lot of different equipment as it constantly looks at ways to improve residents’ mobility and well-being.


One particularly impressive piece of kit on trial at the time was the Keiser Infinity, which offers 300 different exercises. It uses air pistons instead of weights, to create resistance, allowing for it to be adjusted by just 100g at a time, meaning there are no jerky movements associated with physical weights.

There were also cycle machines which can be used in a seated position, which get legs and arms pumping and your heart thumping, and unassuming equipment, like a wobble cushion – something that resembles a flat football which helps with balance and works the lower legs, ankles and toes.


State-of-the-art wheelchairs are available for residents who need them, and a hoist and ceiling track are available to help manoeuvrability around the room.

Volunteer Rosemarie on the sit-down cycle machine

Of course, you may have the best equipment in the world, but unless you have a knowledgable and dedicated Physio Team, it counts for nothing.


The Charity’s Physio Teams care about each and every resident they help. There is always happy chatter and plenty of encouragement, and friendships are often formed in this room.


They carry out a full physio assessment and plan each resident’s exercise routine in advance. Physiotherapists work with the resident and have access to their medical history to work out the most effective and enjoyable routine. The Team can also use outcome measures to assess and screen neurological or cognitive impairment, something commonly found in people who have had a stroke. This also shows the Team what areas a resident may need to work on.


It was good to see how the physiotherapy team operate, the equipment they use and the wonderful work they do. I understand more why it makes such a positive impact on the lives of residents.