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Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Clinic – Patient information leaflet

This leaflet provides information for people who have been referred to the FES Clinic at Walkergate Park, Centre for Neurological Rehabilitation and Neuro-Psychiatry. FES is a treatment that uses small electrical charges to produce muscle activity or a muscle contraction.

This leaflet may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without the permission of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • Welcome

    This leaflet provides information for people who have been referred to the FES Clinic at Walkergate Park, Centre for Neurological Rehabilitation and Neuro-Psychiatry.

  • Appointment

    Your appointment letter gives the date and time of your appointment. If you are unable to attend the appointment please contact the Outpatient Reception on telephone number 0191 287 5130, 24 hours in advance where possible. An alternative appointment will be arranged.

  • What is FES Clinic and why have I been referred?

    Your physiotherapist or Health Care Professional has referred you for an assessment to see if FES may help you.

    FES is a treatment that uses small electrical charges to produce muscle activity or a muscle contraction. It is often used to help people with their walking when they have ‘drop foot’. It produces a muscle contraction that helps lift the foot up when walking.

    It can also be used in rehabilitation and/or physiotherapy.

  • How does FES work?

    In clinic we use a small battery powered machine, which is attached to electrodes that are placed on your skin. An electrical stimulation is applied to the nerve or muscle, this can feel like a ‘pins and needles’ sensation. This causes the muscle to contract (or work) producing movement and lifting the foot.

    FES is not suitable for everyone. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you if it might be helpful for you.

  • What happens at the first appointment?

    You will be assessed by a physiotherapist. This will involve observing you walking and may involve trying the FES. Your appointment may last up to 1 hour 30 minutes.

  • How safe is FES?

    It should not be used if:
    • You are pregnant
    • Have a cardiac pacemaker (or other implanted medical device)
    • If you have epilepsy that is not well controlled
    • If your skin is broken where the electrodes are to be placed

    It is generally not suitable for people with:
    • Peripheral nerve damage
    • Motor Neuron Disease
    • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
    • Fixed Contractures

  • How do I get an FES machine?

    If the trial of FES is successful your physiotherapist will support/advise you with obtaining an FES machine. This can be through:
    • an application for funding to your local Clinical Commissioning Group (i.e. NHS funding) (this does not guarantee that funding will be approved)
    • application to a charitable organisation such as the Stroke Association,
    • private purchase (buying your own machine)

  • Further information

    If you would like further information your physiotherapist will be able to answer any questions you have and recommend alternative treatments.

    If you have any problems with the FES please contact the department as soon as possible on telephone number 0191 287 5100/287 5130.

    If the electrodes cause any redness, irritation or breakdown of your skin that do not disappear after 30 minutes stop using the FES and contact the department for advice/further appointments.

  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website www.cntw.nhs.uk (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email complaints@cntw.nhs.uk Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    - the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    www.cntw.nhs.uk/poy
    - complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Information about content, other formats and version control

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2020 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/154/0819 August 2019 V2
    www.cntw.nhs.uk Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2022