Two years ago Daniel Gray was lying in a hospital bed after a car accident left him with severe brain damage.
But now the 22-year-old, from Kingsbury, northwest London, is beginning to return to a normal life and has been able to return to work, thanks to the help of the Royal Free Neurological Rehabilitation Centre (NRC).
Daniel was injured after he lost control of his car on a wet road and crashed into a tree in January 2011. He spent five months in the trauma unit at St Mary’s Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Free NRC where he was given support to enable him to return to work.
Daniel, who has been back in his retail job for six months now, said: “I’m taking each day at a time and slowly I feel like I’m getting back to normal. Being back at work definitely helps and a year ago I never thought I’d be where I am now and that’s all down to the rehab team. It was always my aim to get back to work, earn money and be independent again and I’m so pleased to be doing that.”
The Royal Free NRC is based at Edgware Community Hospital and provides specialist in-patient, outreach rehabilitation and condition management services for adults with long-term neurological conditions.
Part of that service includes the vocational rehabilitation team who help patients who have neurological conditions, such as MS or a brain injury, in trying to lead an independent life.
Since Daniel was transferred to the NRC, the team have worked closely with him, helping him to improve the strength and co-ordination of his left hand with an extensive exercise programme and enabling him to leave the house on his own by assisting with journeys and planning travel to get Daniel to and from his job. The team provided education about brain injury and epilepsy to help support Daniel to manage his symptoms whilst at work. Due to the accident, Daniel found it difficult to find the right words to describe what he wanted to say and so the speech and language therapy team also worked closely with him to help him find strategies to address this.
Carina Humphreys, occupational therapist, who worked closely with Daniel throughout his rehabilitation said: “Daniel was involved in a programme which involved neuropsychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. We all worked closely together to support him on his road to recovery.
“It’s about empowering people and managing their symptoms as best as possible. Getting patients to a stage where they are able to return to work or doing volunteering can really give them and their families a massive boost of confidence.”
Marina Gray, Daniel’s mother, is very grateful for the work of the neurological rehabilitation team. She said “Daniel going back to work was a goal we never thought we would be able to achieve. The work that Carina and her team did was amazing. Carina helped support Daniel through seizures and anxieties and was always available at the end of the phone for us as parents.
“People need to know about this wonderful service. Without the help and support from the neurological rehab team, patients like Daniel would just be left to get on with it. I cannot thank the team enough for giving my son his independence back.”
Notes to editors
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The Royal Free attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, surgery for hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) conditions, clinical neurosciences, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and is a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.