PSP Association
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Any advice on stiffness?


My 73 year old dad has just come home after a two week stay in hospital as he had aspirated on 550ml of pureed food. After having four different doctors come to the house (and being told he had a viral infection) over a four day period, dad was rushed into hospital. Prior to being admitted, dad's carers were moving him out of his bed into a reclining chair using a standing hoist. However, in hospital he was not moved out of his bed for two weeks. As he was nil by mouth for a few days and then nasally fed, he ended up losing nearly 21lbs and now home is regarded as being too weak to be moved out of bed. Dad's carers think that he can be moved once he regains some strength (thankfully he has found his appetite!) but the district nurse is proving hard to convince (she's only been involved with dad since he came out of hospital two weeks ago).

Our main concern is that the longer he stays in bed, the stiffer he'll become. Does anyone have any suggestions/tips to try to help him. He can lift himself partially up when he holds on to the side rails on his bed and he does have a lot of movement in his legs (in terms of kicking/fidgeting). We are worried that he will end up stiff and won't be able to sit in his wheelchair.


Faiza x

4 Replies

Hi Faiza,

I felt that daily massage helped my husband. He was also on baclofen which did not seem to help all that much. He will continue to get stiff and eventually will not be able to sit but will prefer to stay in bed. It is the nature of the disease and dont beat yourself up if the stiffness continues to take hold. May God help you in your journey. Take care of your Dad and take care of yourself.



Thanks Judy. He is beginning to get stiff, I'm just surprised at how quickly since his stay in hospital.

I'll definitely give the daily massage a go



Hi Faiza. I am so sorry to hear of your troubles! Getting your dad out of bed is important as long as it's not too painful. We used small doses of clonazepam for stiffness and spasms. I also did range of motion exercises religiously to help with movement. That should really help a lot. Maybe an OT/PT person can help you. Won't hurt to ask. If you can't get any help, I can try to explain or draw up the exercises and send them to you.



My mum had a similar hospital experience last month and it dropped her into the advanced stage. The hospital promised intensive physio but then discovered mum was too floppy and just gave up. However towards the end of her 16 day stay mum had begun to try and stand and she was shipped back to the care home and moved upstairs to full nursing care and moved by hoist only for nearly a week. This troubled me and I worried that mum would not regain any standing which means I would not be able to take her about, My mother had different ideas and began pushing and standing so they went back to standing her to transfer. Since then mum has continued to get her strength and has now begun trying to get out of her chair unaided. This has resulted in panic among the staff and they want to put her into a chair that tips up so far that she wont be able to get out or even change her own position.It seems so unfair that she has fought to get mobile and they are going to thwart her. I am not happy about this and feel that the care home should instead check mum more often. offer her the use of the commode regularly as she is unable to use her buzzer and use a motion sensor pad rather than encouraging stiffness to set in.

Nobody understands PSP despite me telling them over and over and I am considering bringing her to my home and leaving work. I know I would need to employ a nurse but don't know how to go about getting someone reliable. It's all such a worry.


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