Patient Stories
Year 2018
December 2018

Overcoming barriers to rehabilitation

When she was seven years old, Firzanah had a high fever. Little did anyone expect it would change her life.

The fever led to development disabilities. Now 19, Firzanah is unable to speak and needs support to sit up. A custom-made wheelchair helps her move around. Her mother, Jamaliah Attan, 49, quit her job to provide care around the clock. Her husband, a technical officer, is the sole breadwinner of the family of five.

When she turned 18 and required adult facilities, Firzanah was referred to St Luke’s Hospital for outpatient rehabilitation.

To travel by taxi, Jamaliah would have to dismantle Firzanah’s wheelchair and carry her 52 kg daughter aboard. This was out of the question, so Firzanah uses a special hydraulic vehicle or a London cab. Jamaliah said, “No matter what, I have to go ahead with the rehabilitation.”

Transport expenses put further strain on the family’s finances. A social worker from St Luke’s Hospital helped her apply for transport subsidy from the hospital’s patient welfare fund to cover a large portion of transport costs. The fund is contributed by generous donors.

With rehabilitation, Jamaliah says Firzanah’s limbs are not so stiff. Her body feels “lighter” and it is easier to carry her. If she stops rehabilitation, “her limbs tend to be tight again”.

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Jamaliah encourages Firzanah during therapy. Transport subsidy from the hospital helps mother and child with travel for outpatient rehabilitation.