Rewire Stroke firmly establishes its roots

Nerve Roots sees gardening materials delivered to stroke survivors 

Garden centres in West Yorkshire are donating materials to aid the rehabilitation of stroke patients at home amid pandemic. Rehab services have been compromised as a result of COVID19. This is compounded by the isolation measures which together will result in poorer outcomes for these individuals. 


Patient receiving physiotherapy. Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Recovery potential after stroke can only be realised with intense therapy immediately after the event. Dr Raj Parmar, founder of Rewire Stroke, is a junior doctor working in stroke rehabilitation at Pinderfields General Hospital. Recognising the missed opportunity, he contacted local nurseries to see if they had any pots and plants that they could donate. “Horticulture isn’t really my thing but achieving the best possible outcomes for our stroke patients is. They’re currently not getting the physiotherapy or cognitive stimulation they need after being discharged from hospital. Sowing seeds or re-potting a plant provides physical and cognitive exercise.”

Called Nerve Roots, the initiative sees gardening packs delivered to the homes of stroke survivors. Each pack includes seeds, a pot or tray, some compost and a spray bottle. There’s a card that illustrates how to sow seeds in three simple steps. Following instructions like this requires higher-level executive functioning. This level of cognition is required to plan and execute a task. Sowing seeds is relatively simple but will provide some stimulation in these difficult times. 

Gardening Pack.png

Materials included in a gardening pack (a pack of salad seeds, a pack of flower seeds, two pots, two bowls, compost and a spray bottle).

Sue Proctor Plants and Greenscapes in West Yorkshire are offering small plants and seed trays that will be delivered locally. Like much of the economy, the horticulture industry has taken a big hit due to the isolation measures imposed by the government. Some have adapted quickly and offer virtual browsing, while others have been forced to shut up shop. Despite their struggles, people are still keen to lend a hand and help their community in this time of need.