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Nordic walking support for patients with Parkinson’s

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A NORDIC walking programme is being used by Warrington Community Neurosciences team to support patients with Parkinson’s.
The Neurosciences team, based at Orford Jubilee Hub and delivered by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, provides rehabilitation services to empower people with neurological conditions.
As part of their aim to help patients fulfil their maximum potential and improve their quality of life, they have introduced a successful new Nordic Walking programme.
Warrington Community Neurosciences physiotherapist Lucy Tilling said: “Recent research has found that Nordic Walking can provide a number of benefits for people with the condition, such as increased mobility, improved balance, general fitness and reduced episodes of freezing.
“We take referrals to the group from a variety of different professionals including physiotherapists and specialist nurses from both the Neurosciences team and neurology hospital, The Walton Centre. Patients undergo a physiotherapy assessment before being placed in one of two walking group levels dependant on their needs and requirements.”
Over eight weekly sessions, Lucy Tilling and rehabilitation assistant Rebecca Bothwell work with the patients on their confidence, balance and mobility. Nordic walking poles are used to aid alternate arm and leg swinging which improves posture, speed and general fitness. At the end of the programme patients are then reassessed for any improvements.
One of the patients to participate in the programme is Susan Rees aged 63 from Birchwood. She said: “I really enjoyed the walking and exercises with the rest of the group and also the one-to-one guidance and support of the physiotherapists. It has given me much more confidence especially using my left arm which has encouraged me to do it more naturally.”
Another patient Pat Johnson, aged 70 from Callands said: “With Lucy and Becky’s guidance and encouragement, it has really helped me with my confidence especially my balance. I also enjoy the social element of walking in the group and meeting new people.”
Following the success of the programme and the high number of requests from patients who wished to continue walking, Lucy got in contact with Nordic Walking UK.
She said: “I enquired if Nordic Walking UK had any local instructors who would be interested in running the groups, specifically for people with Parkinson’s. I was introduced to Anita Lobban, an experienced walking instructor, who was able to support the programme.
“Anita now runs follow on groups for patients who have completed the eight week programme. Before they start, with the consent of the patients, we pass on information regarding their specific goals and how they are with their walking so Anita is fully aware of their capabilities and can tailor her sessions accordingly to meet the needs of the group.”
Anyone who would like any further information regarding referrals onto the Nordic Walking programme please contact the Warrington Community Neurosciences team on: ALWCH.neurowarrington@nhs.net

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