Number of Disabled Work Centre Employees
Number of Remedial Gym Patients Now Today
Number of Bursary Students For This Year

Saint Giles Durban

about the gym

Sport Slade working on a Patient on a Circumduction Bed
Sport Slade working on a Patient on a Circumduction Bed

The Saint Giles Remedial Gymnasium was for many years managed by the charismatic and popular Sport Slade who sadly passed away in February 1998. During 1998 the Gymnasium was completely overhauled and re-furbished. It was re-opened in July 1998 and named in honour of Sport Slade. This new gymnasium has been further increased in size over the years to cope with demand.

During the existence of the gym we have been extremely fortunate to receive donations of equipment from Standard Bank, Lions, NSRI and the Psoriasis Association.

Now, with the assistance of well qualified staff, the Remedial Gymnasium offers Remedial Exercise Therapy for disabled persons in the form of Active and Passive Resistance Exercise. The Gym also offers regular Blood Pressure Monitoring.

The Remedial Gymnasium has developed over the years to benefit those nearing the end of their initial rehabilitation phase. A person who has suffered a disability (such as a stroke) will undergo their initial intensive care in hospital, then seek assistance of specialists such as a physiotherapist or chiropractor, or in some cases a speech therapist or psychologist, depending on the severity of the disability.

After the completion of this phase, patients seek our assistance for post functional rehabilitation.
In cases where patients are not able to afford the treatment offered by the above mentioned specialists, Saint Giles is able to offer an alternative form of rehabilitation therapy.

The use of the Sport Slade Memorial Gymnasium is free of charge, subject to referral by a registered Medical Practitioner or Physiotherapist and preliminary screening by the Gymnasium Manager. Donations towards operating costs are always welcome as the gym is run on the generosity of the supportive public.

how can you help?

If you know someone who is disabled and who would benefit from using our Remedial Gym give them our contact details.

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disabilities treated

The Remedial Gymnasium deals with a wide range of patients, young and old, with many different pathologies and often with a combination of pathologies.

The Remedial Gym offers remedial therapy for a range of disabilities which include Spinal Injury, Paraplegia, Amputations and Stroke victims, which make up the majority of the cases, as well as disabilities resulting from conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Poliomyelitis.

Basic Cardiac Rehabilitation as well as continued rehabilitation of Hip and Knee Replacements after surgery also fall within the treatment parameters of the gym. Conditions such as Osteoporosis and Chronic Arthritis may cause various disabilities which are also treated where appropriate.

medical referal and preliminary assessment

Patients wishing to attend the Remedial Gymnasium must be referred by a Medical Practitioner / Physiotherapist. The Gymnasium Manager then has a clinical diagnosis to ensure that he can apply an appropriate exercise therapy programme and avoid treatment which might cause complications.

A Preliminary Assessment is undertaken after the relevant Medical Clearance. The Preliminary Assessment includes an interview with the patient in which past medical history and current physical condition is assessed. Each case is unique and each new patient has to be assessed individually for the Remedial Therapist to set up an exercise programme best suited to facilitate the rehabilitation process.

total access – wheel chair equipment

The Range of Total Access Wheelchair equipment is a complete line of commercial fitness equipment designed to make exercise available to those with physical disabilities.

The Total Access equipment is designed with special features to accommodate those who use wheelchairs and other types of mobility devices; and it is the same equipment that able-bodied exercisers expect and enjoy.

With the acquisition of this new range of Total Access equipment Saint Giles has incorporated equipment that accommodates all and makes the gymnasium one of the only 100% wheelchair compatible gyms in KZN.

The Saint Giles Remedial Gym has 5 pieces of Total Access equipment which were donated by the Lions Club of Durban:

  • Lat Pull Downs
  • Chest Press
  • Shoulder Press/ Overhead Press
  • Seated Row
  • Preacher Curls
Saint Giles Durban
Patient using the Chest Press
Saint Giles Durban
Wheel chair bound Patient using the Seated Row
Saint Giles Durban
Wheel chair bound Patient using the Chest Press
Saint Giles Durban
Two Patients being put through their paces on the Circumduction Beds by Jetro Zuma (on the left) and Sam Ndebele(on the right)

circumduction beds

The Remedial Gymnasium has two Circumduction Beds.

Patients are helped with light passive and resistant stretching routines, the aim of which is to improve mobility and flexibility of both the patients’ lower and upper extremities.

Stretching of patients also helps to counter spasms and cramping which is most prevalent in stroke and paraplegic patients. Apart from stretching, a variety of other exercises are performed on the bed. These include core stability exercises involving the strengthening of the abdominals and lower back as well as coordination and skills exercises which help in improved balance and stability.

Good results have been achieved by patients who have made regular use of this service and it is an essential part to the overall remedial therapy provided by the Gym.

Saint Giles Durban
Wheel chair bound Patient using the Arm Crank

arm crank

This piece of equipment is used by the majority of the patients in the Remedial Gym, but is most beneficial to stroke patients and paraplegic patients. The Arm Crank is mounted on the wall and has a handle on each side. Resistance bands that cover a small portion of the wheel offer resistance.

The benefits for the stroke patients exercising on the Arm Crank include facilitating movement of the shoulder joints, allowing the shoulder joints to move in a full range of motions. Exercising on the Arm Crank also helps to prevent the occurrence of frozen shoulder.

For paraplegics, exercising on the Arm Crank allows the patient to improve cardiovascular fitness levels as well as exercising and strengthening arms and shoulder joints.

Saint Giles Durban
Patient using the Parallel Bars to regain his walking ability

parallel bars

The Parallel Bars are a crucial teaching aid for those patients learning to walk again after something like a head injury. They also play a crucial role in paraplegic exercise routine.

With the aid of the Parallel Bars, the paraplegic patients are able to get out of their wheel chairs, and with the aid of leg callipers, stand. This is very beneficial, as they are able to take the weight off their kidneys and allow the circulation of blood to flow into the legs.

For those who are not able to walk as a result of their affliction, walking can be re-taught with the aid of the Parallel Bars for support.

Saint Giles Durban
Patient using the Training Stairs

training stairs

The Training Stairs were manufactured in our own workshop and are used as a teaching aid to help patients learn how to climb stairs with their varying disabilities.

Working against gravity, the stairs also offer a means to help build up muscular strength, as well as co-ordination and spatial orientation, especially in the case of stroke patients.

Teaching the patients to utilise the Training Stairs helps to instil confidence and is the “first step” to ensuring that similar obstacles are not seen as insurmountable.

Saint Giles Durban
Two Patients using The Ceiling Mounted
Arm Pulleys

ceiling mounted arm pulleys

The Ceiling Mounted Arm Pulleys are one of the most basic pieces of equipment in the gym, yet they are one of the most effective tools for the prevention of frozen shoulder, which is most common in post stroke patients.

Patients are able to use their unaffected arm to move their paralysed arm and in so doing increase the range of motion of the shoulder joint. This enables the patient to keep the shoulder mobile, improving circulation to the joint and helping reduce pain in that area.

With assistance, patients are able to be moved in a wider range, helping to stretch stiff muscles and increase circulation to the affected area. Keeping the shoulder joint healthy is a very important step for continued and progressive rehabilitation.

Saint Giles Durban
Wheel chair bound patient out of his wheel chair with his feet strapped to the Automatic
Passive Cycle

automatic passive cycle

The Saint Giles remedial gym has new state of the art Motomed machines for wheelchair patients. They are imported from Germany and are first of its kind in KZN. "People who had little strength are now doing so much better and can pedal by themselves," said Rory Hassall, gym manager.

The machines provide passive, motor-assisted, active resistance-movement therapy for wheelchair patients. "Our wheelchair patient numbers are growing weekly and we currently have 37," said Rory. We have bought one machine already and are waiting for finances to purchase another two. "They are very popular and far surpass the old Thera Fit plus model which was donated to the gym Motomed gymby the Psoriasis Association five years ago.

The machines have two functions, passive training for paralysed patients, where the machine stimulates the lower body, or for partially paralysed patients who can pedal themselves until they get too tired. The machine then takes over for the patient. The upper training machines are used by the paraplegics for cardio and quadriplegics use the machines with a passive function. The machines have an anti-spasm setting as well.

"Even though the machines are costly, you can't put a price on seeing people working on them, and improving every day."

Saint Giles Durban
3 Patients getting their exercise on the Recumbent Cycles

recumbent cycle

The Recumbent Cycle is an example of a piece of gym equipment being put to good use in a rehabilitative environment.

The Recumbent Cycle offers a secure seating position because of its wide seat and has supportive handle bars on each side. Patients who would not normally be able to access a conventional upright cycle are able to access the Recumbent Cycle more easily because, in addition to its other benefits, it is closer to the ground.

The extended seating position offers a more balanced and stable ride allowing patients with varying abilities to peddle more easily without the fear of falling off.

Saint Giles Durban
Wheel chair bound patient strapped to the Tilt Table; who is being moved into a standing position on the Tilt Table in a series of stages

electric tilt table

The tilt table allows patients to weight-bear through their legs, something able-bodied people are able to do just by standing. Weight-bearing helps patients with spinal cord injuries to prevent the loss of bone density in their legs and decrease the onset of osteoporosis.

A tilt table is a vital piece of equipment for paraplegics or quadriplegics who suffer from spinal cord injuries because it provides numerous benefits, including the reduced pressure placed on their internal organs after sitting for long periods, along with improved circulation to the lower extremities.

Saint Giles Durban
Patient receiving TLC with the Senator Massage Machine operated by Volunteer

t.l.c. corner

The T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care) Corner is staffed by a small, dedicated group of Volunteers and has been in existence as long as the gym itself.

Patients are assisted by Volunteers and given a massage using a Senator Massaging Machine. Stimulation by this machine has been shown to improve circulation in the hands and feet and reduce mild muscle tension.

This aspect of the gym is most important as it constitutes the element of touch. A special camaraderie exists here and contributes towards the warmness and highly social nature of the gym.

All patients and volunteers also enjoy a bit of socialising around a “cuppa” on a daily basis.