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On National AHP Day Soldier salutes Occupational Therapist who helped him shake hands with fellow veterans again

 11 October 2019

Davina Moseley, Occupational Therapist at Southern Health, has helped a retired soldier learn how to shake hands with fellow veterans after a series of strokes left him unable to walk and use his right arm.

Southern Health has Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) from nine of the 14 allied health professions encompassing around 450 staff. Forming part of the AHP workforce Davina shows the amazing impact these individuals have on our patients and their recovery.

Morrie and Pat - SHFT - Oct 2019.jpg

Duncan Morrison (also known as Morrie) suffered three strokes which left him struggling to move. Being from a military background, one of Morrie’s goals was to be able to shake hands again as it holds a symbol of respect and meaning.  

Once home from hospital, Duncan’s wife Pat was eager to try everything they could in order to help Morrie restore the use of his right arm. They tried various methods even buying a keyboard to practice hand movements. Unfortunately nothing seemed to work and it became increasingly difficult and frustrating for them to stay motivated and positive to keep trying.

Picking up the story, Pat said: “The important thing is that we didn’t give up. Just when it felt like we were at the end of the road, we came across Davina. I wish we had met her when Duncan was first discharged from the Hospital.”

Davina, who works at Havant Health Centre, visited Morrie and initially gave him exercises to practice as well as guiding him with recommendations on how to use his hands. After lots of hard work Morrie has achieved his goal and is now able to shake the hands of his fellow veterans. “When Pat told me Duncan had been following my recommendations and is now able to shake his friend’s hands, I was absolutely delighted for him. He had such a big grin on his face. He now attempts to squash my hand in a handshake whenever I visit.” said Davina.

Pat added “If Davina sees something that isn’t quite right she will speak up and fix it for us. She explains everything to me in detail so I know exactly how to help and support Duncan.”

“It is always lovely to hear you had made a difference in some way. There is more to Occupational Therapy than supplying a piece of equipment.” said Davina.

Morrie is now on his way to perfecting the salute again and has set his sights on being able to stand up behind his chair allowing him to see more of the outside as he continues his recovery.

Susanna Preedy, Deputy Director of AHPs for Southern Health said “This story really demonstrates the vital role AHPs play in today’s healthcare. Without these fantastic staff our patients would not recovery as quickly or achieve their personal goals like Morrie.

“On National AHP day I would like to thank all the AHPs within our services for the work they do and support they give to our patients, service users, families and other healthcare staff. They are truly healthcare heroes!”

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