In 1939 Pinderfields became Britain’s foremost Rehabilitation Centre
MODERN MEDICAL SCIENCE MAKES WAR WOUNDED FULLY FIT
The casualties in World War II were happily not as heavy as in the 1914-18 conflict, still there remain about three quarters of a million men seriously wounded, apart from those who were killed.
Medical science made great strides during the war. Wartime is invariably the only opportunity to put new forms of treatment to really large scale tests. In dealing with the wounded, new methods of rehabilitation evolved which now improve substantially the prospects of the wounded to attain full recovery; men and women who only a generation ago would be condemned to physical disability for life can now, in many cases, fully recover.
Quietly and steadily, removed from the limelight of publicity, Pinderfields Emergency Hospital at Wakefield, Yorkshire, developed the most important Rehabilitation Unit in the country. Elsewhere there are similar centres at work which use the same type of equipment and follow the same course of modern rehabilitation. Pinderfields however, apart from being one of the largest centres, is also a principal pioneering unit.
Working as part of the Ministry of Health Emergency Hospital Service since early in 1940, some 27,000 patients have been admitted to Pinderfields Hospital during the past five and a half years; most of these were service personnel but there were also cases of industrial injuries, such as miners and civilian air raid casualties. Nearly 6,000 service patients were received in convoy direct from the various battle fronts.
The principal feature of modern rehabilitation is that weak muscles and stiff joints are restored, even while the patients are in plaster casts. Instead of waiting until a wound has healed completely, remedial exercises now start almost immediately. Various methods are used: games, physical exercises and occupational therapy are the most frequent. Not only do they keep the affected parts active but they give the patients self-confidence and take their minds off their injuries or diseases. Many handicrafts are used which divert the patients, give them new interests and skills and encourage them to use their injured limbs.
Our series of exclusive photographs illustrate how modern rehabilitation works at Pinderfields.