Leanne Laws, from County Durham, has spoken about her journey from being physically unable to get out of bed to living independently in less than two years.
In June 2019, Leanne, who suffers with fibromyalgia, had to be placed in an induced coma after an accidental overdose. The episode left her with significant brain injury.
Leanne, now 39, was discharged from hospital into the care of her father, but her health quickly deteriorated, and she was unable to walk, talk or swallow without assistance. For extra support, she was admitted to our care home, The Highlands in Birtley to recover.
Leanne said: “It was a really difficult time. When I came out of hospital, I couldn’t do anything for myself at all. It was such a horrible time.”
The Highlands is a purpose-built 14 bed care home, which provides respite and rehabilitation services to adults who have physical or learning disabilities.
Leanne said: “I went to stay at The Highlands in March 2020, at the start of the first lockdown, which was a difficult time in general. Honestly, I was so poorly, I barely noticed there was a global pandemic because I couldn’t get out of bed. I really wasn’t myself.
“The Highlands has a lovely atmosphere and, once we didn’t have to isolate in our rooms anymore, we had a lovely time playing bingo and dominoes, and enjoying afternoon tea.
“The team were amazing. They helped me to walk and do things myself. They helped me to understand things and really pushed me to have a go, even when I thought I couldn’t do it. They never gave up on me.”
Leanne now has her own two-bedroom flat and lives completely independently.
She said: “I don’t know what I would have done without the staff. They got me back on my feet when I thought there was no hope. I really miss everyone at The Highlands, but I knew it was the right time to go and live on my own.
“One of my neighbours also used to live at The Highlands, so I don’t feel too far away from home, and I can always pop back for a visit.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone at The Highlands. You’re like a second family to me and I will always be grateful for the help you’ve given me.”
Anne Bell, manager at The Highlands, said: “I’m so proud of Leanne. From the day she arrived to the day she moved out, she worked hard on her recovery. She was determined she was going to be able to live on her own, and it’s amazing to see her achieve that goal in such a short space of time.
“It’s always lovely to see one of the people we support get to the point where they don’t need our help anymore, even though it’s bittersweet to see them go, but then it’s great to catch up with them and see how they’re getting on.
“Leanne is an incredible woman, and I can’t wait to see her go from strength to strength now she has her own place. She’s a star.”
The Highlands is operated by Pathways Care Group, part of Salutem Care and Education. It is rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission.