Fiona Weston

One Size Does Not Fit All
– Fiona Weston, Caregiver

Fiona Weston is a brave, dedicated and outspoken advocate for those who are recovering from a stroke or brain injury.

“The one size fits all approach does not work when it comes to this situation,” she says. “I accept there will always be funding issues in the health sector, but I cannot accept a lack of efficiency. We are in the 21st century and need to embrace technology to help people recover.

“Hospitals and rehabilitation centres generally run on the lowest possible staffing ratio, so if there are public holidays, or staff illness or leave, the patients are just left.

“Systems like ableX require an initial outlay, but they also require minimal supervision once they are set up and inspire independence and results in patients. They are specifically designed to encourage neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to retrain new pathways), and should be an integral part of a rehabilitation programme. Patients need the best possible outcome and this is often a time-sensitive situation. If there could be more technological support for rehabilitation, it would help the over-worked and time-poor staff at the coal face, and the patients, and pay off in no time at all.

Never allow your loved one to be put in a box,” says Fiona, “the DHB mission statements reference personalised solutions, but in reality that is not being delivered.”

The focus in hospitals is initially to recover large motor skills, like walking. Fiona’s husband Colin received minimal rehabilitation on his arms and hands in hospital, other than what Fiona organised and executed herself. “You shouldn’t have to choose,” she says. “Arms and legs are equally important.

“ableX helped Colin’s arm amazingly. He got so much satisfaction from being able to work independently and achieve results at his own pace. It offers such a lot of rehabilitation in a short space of time.”

Fiona wants to see change and improvement in the treatment of stroke and its administration. A naturally strong and high achieving woman, she believes with enough work and awareness and the willingness to embrace new concepts, that is a goal that will be realised in New Zealand.