Stanford Hall – where patients get it all

Maisy Provan and Sarah Barker, the Veteran Covenant Healthcare Alliance’s (VCHA) Rehabilitation Team, were at Stanford Hall on 23 November 2021, reviewing the tri-service, gold standard rehabilitation centre for serving military personnel.  It is the home of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) and is based in Nottinghamshire.

The physiotherapist and occupational therapist were on a further fact-finding visit, part of their programme to review veterans’ rehabilitation services and to make recommendations on improving patient care.  The day was organised and led by Anne Segalini, Professional Lead Advisor Occupational Therapy at Stanford Hall, who ensured Sarah and Maisy had an extensive and comprehensive overview of the treatment patients receive there. They met with Group Captain Chris Rowley RAF, the Commanding Officer of Stanford Hall; the Officer in Command of the Rehabilitation Division, Wing Commander Rich Sutherland – who is also a physiotherapist; and with Anna Creswell-Baker, founder and Executive Director of HighGround, the horticultural charity who also works there with patients.

Maisy Provan said: “It was interesting, and a privilege, to see what goes on at Stanford Hall first hand.  They have the luxury of time with their patients, a higher staff to patient ratio, and superb facilities: gyms, a hydro pool, a swimming pool, a wheelchair 5K track specifically for patients, and an outdoor gym.  It’s a beautiful site and an inspiring place to be.”

The focus for the day encompassed the neurological unit; prosthetics and associated workshops; looking at how Stanford Hall deals with Complex Trauma; the approach to pain management led by Nurse Consultant Sarah Lewis; services relating to psychological wellbeing; and the Force regeneration team, the people tasked with getting serving personnel back to the front line. 

“We were also lucky enough to talk to Jane – who has a background in Occupational Therapy – from HighGround, and Andy, who gave us a tour of the greenhouse and the extensive gardens where they too work with patients.  The benefits of land-based activities and of horticulture cannot be underestimated,” Maisy added.

Continuous review is a key theme at Stanford Hall.  Reflecting on this, Sarah said:  “There are inter-disciplinary teams working with a mixture of civilian and military staff, and they run tactical pause weeks every so often to allow all the teams to review the services. This leads to changes and improvements in quality processes.”

She added: “Such pauses allow everyone to be involved at some level in how the service is run, and to put forward new ideas and innovative ways to change the service, depending on the needs of their patients. 

“The staff we met told us that they love working here.  We can certainly see why.  Stanford Hall is an exceptional rehabilitation facility, where the patient’s needs are put above all else.”

The Veteran Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is committed to improving Armed Forces and Veteran care whilst raising standards for all. 101 NHS providers in England are now Veteran Aware accredited, and the VCHA aims to have all Trusts in England accredited by November 2022 at the latest. Find out more about our work and about Rehab by clicking here.

29 November 2021


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