Hayley Trotman was admitted to Askham Rehab after spending three months in an intensive care unit, where she had stopped breathing twice and had to be mechanically ventilated with a tracheostomy

This week, we’re delighted to share the story of Hayley, who came to our community in Cambridgeshire for specialist neuro-rehab therapy.


Having suffered the effects of one of the world’s rarest neurological conditions, Hayley spent eight days in an induced coma, before being referred to our rehab centre to begin her recovery.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or GBS, is a neurological condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. This can cause trouble with motor coordination, (i.e. balance), muscle weakness, numbness and walking difficulties. Whilst it can be a life-threatening condition, it can be treated, and most people will make a full recovery.

Being such a rare condition, it is not fully understood why the immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves – but the condition often occurs following infection. In Hayley’s case, it’s believed to have been caused by a common cold she suffered in August 2020.

Before her admission to us, 44-year-old Hayley had spent three months in an intensive care unit, in which she required mechanical ventilation with a tracheostomy.

Hayley, mother-of-three, suffered an extreme form of the syndrome – which left her in excruciating pain and unable to move any part of her body, except for a couple of fingers. Due to the severity of her condition, Hayley required specialist treatment, using a combination of all our disciplines: clinical psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.

Following assessments, our multidisciplinary team set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals. We then prescribed a specialist neuro-rehab therapy plan that was specific to her needs.

Sara, our clinical lead and outpatients service manager, told us more about Hayley’s journey: “When Hayley first came to Askham, there were a lot of issues around her pain. Just pulling back her bedsheets caused extreme pain, and this required a lot of input from our medical and clinical psychology teams to help stabilise. I remember Hayley saying to me, ‘I’m so scared I will never be able to walk again.’ I promised her she would, but we knew it was going to be a long road to recovery.”

Once her pain had stabilised, Hayley was much more engaged and able to make better use of our robotic and sensor-assisted technology.

With the use of our Tyromotion OMEGO plus (a multifunctional chair enabling specific training of functional therapy goals), Hayley was able to challenge her lower limbs in strength, movement, accuracy, and coordination.


To help with upper limb movement, Hayley’s plan also included the use of:

  • The MYRO table, a sensor-based surface with interactive applications;
  • The AMADEO, a robotics and sensor-based device for hand therapy;
  • The PABLO, a sensor-based rehab device for unilateral and bilateral training.


Together, by using our state-of-the-art equipment, along with sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and sensory rooms and gardens, we were able to improve Hayley’s condition drastically in just a matter of weeks, to the point where she was able to walk again with assistance.

Having spent some time following her personalised plan of weekly activities, Hayley was soon able to live independently in one of our self-contained, fully adapted onsite apartments. She used the space to build back her confidence through independently cooking, walking and making use of our abundant gardens and grounds. Following this, we were delighted to award Hayley her departure date –  March 11th – allowing her to fulfil her ultimate goal of arriving home to her children and husband in time for Mother’s Day.

Reflecting on Hayley’s journey, Sara said: “From someone who could only move their fingers when they first arrived, Hayley has progressed incredibly well. Askham’s ethos is all about empowering and caring for the individual, making their journey very much patient-centred. The environment here is friendly and open; we could tap into Hayley’s hobby of being out in the garden, which helped lift her mood and succeeded to fully engage her in the rehab process.”

We’ve also since spoken to Hayley about her journey with us: “I was terrified when I came out of ICU; but upon my arrival to Askham, I was reassured that everything was going to be OK and that I would return home to my family. My most memorable milestone was when I first used the rollator to walk. I thought I was going to hit the deck, but the team at Askham encouraged me to do it and I ended up walking down the corridor – it was fantastic. They even videoed the moment and sent it to my husband and children.

During my stay, I started a journal so I could reflect on my journey and note my progress. Each day, I wrote down advice from the team and used it as motivation. Their words helped me move forward and have stayed with me to this day. I’ve been supported in every step of my journey and will be forever grateful for everything the team at Askham did for me. I’ve got so many things on my bucket list now. One of the first things I want to do is jump out of a plane to raise funds for GBS.”

As a family business with more than 30 years’ experience, including 10 years of neurological rehabilitation expertise, we’re able to offer the facilities to accommodate and treat people with a wide range of extensive neurological conditions. Our community prides itself on having programmes in place to ensure those staying with us will receive structured, high-quality care with a holistic approach.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Hayley for taking the time to share her journey with us, and congratulate her on achieving her goals!

If you’d like to find out more about our specialist neuro-rehab therapy, do take a few minutes to browse our website. Alternatively, to find out how we’ve been supporting our community throughout the pandemic, take a look at our previous blog.

We’re always looking to grow our Askham family, and are welcoming new residents and staff members to be part of our Askham stories. For further help, please contact Askham Village Community on 01354 740269.