Kingston University and St George’s academic awarded MBE for outstanding services to stroke rehabilitation

Elderly couple

The prestigious Queen’s Birthday honours list this year includes an academic from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.

Professor Fiona Jones, MBE

Professor Fiona Jones, MBE

Fiona Jones, Professor of Rehabilitation Research, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to stroke rehabilitation. Professor Jones’s career has been dedicated to helping people recover following stroke, brain injury and long-term neurological conditions – with a strong focus on person-centred care.

She said she was truly humbled that her work had been recognised in the Queen’s 91st birthday honours and particularly wanted to thank her family for all their support. “My work is dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals and their families who have experienced stroke – but it’s a real team effort,” she explained. “This award is a reflection of all of the stroke survivors, their families, as well as my own family and the great teams of people I’ve worked with over the years.”

Professor Jones is the founder and CEO of Bridges Self-Management – a leading programme which aims to help stroke survivors, especially those with complex disabilities, be more involved in their own rehabilitation. The programme was launched as a social enterprise in 2013 and was the culmination of an eight-year project. It has led to new approaches to rehabilitation and self-management which have been adopted by healthcare providers across the country.

She also leads a project funded by the National Institute for Health Research, looking at how to help patients on stroke units be in the driving seat of their own recovery. Professor Jones said that the study’s focus had been on ensuring that the UK’s 1.2million stroke survivors were socially and cognitively active as well as rebuilding their physical strength. “The goal for patients in stroke facilities should be, where possible, to enable them to return swiftly to their homes and regain their independence,” she explained. “The more active people are – mentally as well as physically – the quicker and stronger their recovery.”

Since developing the Bridges programme, Professor Jones has also carried out studies exploring self-management tools for people with acquired brain injury and long-term neurological conditions, as well as looking at professional attitudes and factors influencing the sustainability of using programmes within rehabilitation.

Her string of accolades includes the Life After Stroke award for excellence from the UK Stroke Association and the South London Higher Education Innovation Award for her role with Bridges Self-Management. Having begun her career as a junior physiotherapist at Kings College Hospital, London, she was made a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists in 2011 and was the President of the UK Association of Physiotherapists in Neurology from 2013-2017.

Faculty Dean Professor Andy Kent said the MBE award was well-deserved recognition of Professor Jones’s many accomplishments. “We are very proud that the enormous contribution Fiona has made to stroke rehabilitation in the United Kingdom has been recognised in this way,” he said. “This award is further evidence of the pioneering work being carried out across a range of fields at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.”