Rehabilitation Live Well @ Vrundhavan is a facility that provides care, comfort and rehabilitation to patients after they have left the hospital and before they go home

A specialised care centre off Pollachi Road called Live Well @ Vrundhavan, has come to the rescue of Puckraj, Kulandairaj and Dinesh.

Puckraj’s sons say that the ambience and attention here has gone a long way in mending both the body and mind of their dad.

For Kulandairaj, the days after his stroke were scary. Would he ever recover the use of his limbs? He would, at this facility. When he found that he could afford the services here, it was a big burden off his shoulders.

K. Vijayalakshmi is relieved that her son can now pick up an object and hold it. He also sits up, holds his neck steady and has stopped drooling so much. She says, "They have plenty of time for Dinesh here. His progress since we have been coming here is remarkable…"

Rehabilitation has somehow not got its due space in medical care in our country. While there is relief all around when a stroke patient is discharged from the hospital, the real challenge begins at home during rehabilitation. Day-to-day care, special diets and the enormous time required to attend to the patient takes its toll on care givers.

Aravind Srinivasan, a practising ophthalmologist, and director projects, Aravind Eye Care System, recognised this and decided to independently set up a facility that would function as a rehabilitation centre, with the help of a family trust. It would be a place that gave them the time, space and attention needed to recuperate before going home.

Changing society

He points out that it is an ageing society we live in. And a changing one too. Family structures are altering and traditional mores of care giving are becoming a thing of the past. And the people most vulnerable are those above 60 or 70 years of age who have suffered a stroke or are ailing in some way. They find it increasingly difficult to lead quality lives.

Says Dr. Aravind, “Hospitals focus on surgery and investigations; rehabilitation does not get adequate attention. Hospitals are also expensive just for rehabilitation.” Dr. Aravind visited rehab centres in the United States and Australia and saw the tremendous impact these centres had on making individuals independent as early as possible after a stroke. “It made me realise how ill-prepared we are as a country to tackle this emerging challenge,” he says.

Dr. Aravind set up a 30-bed rehab centre in Madurai three years ago and received tremendous feedback. Six months ago, he set up Live Well @ Vrundhavan, a speciality centre for physical medicine and rehabilitation. Set amidst a sprawling, picturesque area where peacocks wander at will, well-appointed cottages look out onto a lush lawn. A common kitchen caters to the diet of patients and caregivers.

A physiotherapy centre looks after the exercise regimen of patients under the supervision of trained professionals.

Children with cerebral palsy are also administered physiotherapy here.

Treatment with care

Consultant physiatrist at Live Well, B. Palanisamy, says: “This kind of care enables the patient to gain independence in self care and daily activities. The deleterious effects of immobility can be prevented only in an institutional set-up. And as a physiatrist I can deliver my best only in an institution such as this. When the immediate crisis of a stroke has passed and you’ve been stabilised medically, it is time for rehabilitation. This is challenging not just for the patients but also their families. Our goal is to provide the patient with increased independence, improved physical functioning, and a satisfying quality of life as quickly and fully as possible.”

In the few months of its existence, Live Well has already seen an influx of patients from Coimbatore, Kodaikanal, Coonoor and Bangalore. Dr. Aravind hopes the idea of such facilities spreads. He says, “We have just begun our journey and we hope to establish a model that is replicable so that organised rehab services are available across the country. India should not only take pride in being a young nation but also a compassionate society caring for its aged people.”

* Things are looking up for 70-year old Puckraj Jain. He suffered a stroke and partial paralysis in Coonoor. When the danger was past his sons looked around for a facility where their father could recoup and recover the use of his limbs under trained supervision and physiotherapy.

* Sixty-year-old M. Kulandairaj from Podanur also suffered a stroke. He too required care and physiotherapy that would help him regain some independence. Kulandairaj was a labourer at a factory before he had his stroke, and he was worried about costs.

* For seven-year-old Dinesh Karthik, sitting up for more than a few minutes at a time, or even holding up his head was an ordeal. He drooled all the time. His mother, K. Vijayalakshmi, travelled by public transport across the city to a centre for about an hour of therapy. But he was tired by the time he got there and not much progress was made.

To know more call 097877-88799 or visit www.livewellrehab.com, or, e-mail livewellcbe@gmail.com