Posted on Tuesday 1st May 2012
Dr Paul Teli, aged 66, a former consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, suffered a debilitating stroke in 2004
A former doctor has had his independence restored thanks to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s invaluable Lifeline service.
Dr Paul Teli, aged 66, a former consultant anaesthetist at the East Glamorgan Hospital and then the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, suffered a debilitating stroke in 2004 while preparing for a lecture the following day.
“During my medical career I have worked all over the country but have spent a lot of my life working in Rhondda Cynon Taf. I really loved my job and I found it very rewarding,” said Dr Teli.
“I had been used to saving lives and it hit me hard when I became ill myself.”
A new report by the Stroke Association, issued on Tuesday, May 1, suggests many stroke survivors across the UK feel abandoned after they leave hospital and are being denied the chance to make the best recovery.
The Stroke Association reviewed patients and carers across the UK and found stroke survivors were facing an uphill struggle, some going without regular assessments and some having difficulties seeing specialists.
But Dr Teli is full of praise of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s dedicated Social Services team, which prides itself on the response times and care provided to stroke patients across the County Borough.
The team assess the capabilities of each individual and the Council’s Safe At Home Service then provides a range of detectors that are placed around the house to help manage and minimise risks to people’s health and home environment, all of which are linked to the Council’s Lifeline unit or the 24-hour response centre which provides around-the-clock reassurance and protection.
The Lifeline Service is available to all residents in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is supplied with a Lifeline unit and emergency pendant that allows the user to call for help in case of a fall, sudden illness or many other scenarios simply by pressing a button. The charge for this service is provided at a small charge per week.
Stroke can affect anyone at any time of their life and often occurs without warning. It happens when the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die.
Dr Teli, who lived a healthy lifestyle, was preparing a medical lecture for the following day when he suffered his stroke. It severely affected his speech and also left him with limited mobility, affecting his right hand and his right leg.
“Being right-handed, my life changed dramatically overnight and I was forced to give up the job I loved. I had a very important job, for which I needed to use both my hands,” said Dr Teli, who spent a month recovering at the stroke unit of the former Llwynypia Hospital in the Rhondda Valley.
Dr Teli’s wife Girija, a biomedical scientist at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, was forced to give up work for a short time to be at her husband’s side and to become his full-time carer.
“It was a very distressing time for the whole family and when my husband was eventually discharged from hospital, he was very weak and unable to walk unaided,” said Mrs Teli.
“But Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has been marvellous. The Social Services team came out to assess our situation and helped my husband to walk again and helped him to use his hands once more.”
As a result of his stroke, Dr Teli later developed epilepsy and suffered from seizures and falls around the home. It was at this stage that the couple discovered the life-changing services that were available for them, thanks to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Lifeline.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Lifeline service offers 24-hour emergency assistance 365 days a year and is used by more than 4,500 residents across the County Borough. Emergency response is undertaken on average, in under 15 seconds.
The service includes a lifeline and emergency pendant/wrist band, fall alarms, smoke detectors, flood detectors, a heat detector, carbon monoxide detector, a bogus caller button that can silently call for assistance if someone has an intruder, and lots more - all for just a few pounds per week. All of this equipment is automatically maintained by the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Lsafe at home service.
As a result of the installation of Lifeline at the family home at The Paddocks, Church Village, Dr Teli is now able to manage his condition with support and has now got his independence back.
“Lifeline gives Paul the confidence he needs and also gave me the peace of mind to return to work once again. This service really is a Lifeline in every sense of the word,” said Mrs Teli, safe in the knowledge that if the worst happened, her husband is just the touch of a button away from help.
“After the stroke, my husband lost all his confidence and was left feeling very low. He loved his work and he loved pottering around the garden, but all that ended overnight,” said Mrs Teli.
“It has been a very slow process but my husband and I are both very grateful to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council for catering to our needs. Paul is now able to rebuild his life and I am now able to continue my career.”
The couple have three children and two grandchildren. Dr Teli is now able to walk very short distances unaided.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Group Director for Community Services and Children’s Services, Ellis Williams, said: “Our range of services offer packages that can assist people in their everyday lives by providing them, and their families, with re-assurance and peace of mind that, in the event of an emergency help can be called easily and quickly.
“From less than a couple of pence per day, residents and their homes can be assured that whether it’s a call to the emergency services in case of a fire, a call to the doctor if they are unwell or just advice and reassurance, then Lifeline is always there to help.”
Stroke affects people in different ways, depending on the part of the brain that is affected, how widespread the damage is and how healthy the person was before the stroke.
It often affects speech and mobility and in severe cases, stroke can cause long-term disability and can even be fatal.
The symptoms of a stroke are facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulties with speech. If you recognise these symptoms in yourself or anyone else, call 999 immediately as a speedy response can help reduce the damage to the brain and improve the chances of a full recovery.
If you are interested in applying for a Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Lifeline service or require further information, call 01443 425090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org