27 August 2018
Stroke is one of Australia’s leading causes of disability amongst adults.
When local Geraldton resident Gordon MacLeod suffered a major stroke three years ago, he could not have predicted how much his life would be affected.
‘After my stroke I could no longer talk, move, lost use of my left arm or anything,’ Gordon says.
Where he had previously worked as a storeman, he could no longer work.
‘The biggest thing for me has been relying of others people for help, something I have never asked for before.’
His road to recovery has been a long one, having commenced his rehabilitation in Perth and then at the Geraldton Regional Hospital (GRH).
After being discharged from the Day Therapy Unit at GRH, he has been determined to continue to improve his skills, however ongoing services are not always available, particularly in rural areas.
For the last twelve months, Gordon has continued to work on improving communication and movement skills with final year speech pathology and exercise physiology university students at the WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH).
The students run these clinics as part of their rural clinical placements under the supervision of qualified clinical supervisors.
‘The student teaching clinics that we offer provide great opportunities for our students to learn about working in rural areas, as well as offering a valuable service to the community,’ said WACRH’s Director Professor Sandra Thompson.
Gordon attends regular weekly exercise physiology and speech pathology sessions at WACRH.
‘The clinics have been great for me as I have learnt to stand up, walk and talk,’ he says.
‘If I didn’t have this, I would be scared to go out in public or speak to anyone.’
Exercise physiology student Fadzlynn Fadzully worked with Gordon in the clinic whilst on rural placement at WACRH.
‘I’ve learned so much through all the interactions and working with clients in the WACRH clinics that have made me more confident in my practice,’ Fadzlynn said.
‘The clinics have allowed me to learn from hands on experience instead of just observing.’
Additional to Gordon’s formal rehabilitation, he started painting about two years ago.
‘It provides me with a sense of escape.’
‘Last year I entered my painting called ‘The Lighthouse’ into ‘Disability’ category of the Mid West Art Prize at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery and it sold!’
Gordon paints most Fridays at the Queens Elizabeth II Senior and Community Centre and has a space setup at home to paint.
For anyone interested in accessing speech, exercise physiology or physiotherapy student teaching clinics with WACRH, please call 9956 0200.
Notes to media:
Photo caption: Gordon MacLeod in front of his painting at the WA Centre for Rural Health with speech pathology student Yvette Tshuma and WACRH Exercise Physiology lecturer Alex Lalovic.