Title ID 6065Collection ID848
TitleHelp for the Housebound
Date[ca. 1962]
CollectionNorth Downs Film Unit
ThemeCine Club Film-making
KeywordsCharities Disabled Persons Houses Old Age Health Services
LocalReigate Redhill
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionNorth Downs Cinematograph Society
Format16mm Black & White Sound
Duration10 min. 28 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A promotional film showing the work of the East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit, produced by the North Downs Cinematograph Society in around 1962. The film has a fund raising element, explaining that the service is not covered by the National Health Service and is reliant on donations.


"Amateur Cine World. This film gained 3 stars in the ten best competition 1962." "This film was made by the North Downs Cinematograph Society in conjunction with the East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit." Male commentary throughout. Female commentary towards the end. No music.

N.D.C.S. Presents... "Help for the Housebound". A doctor leaves his house and gets in his car. He writes out a note to the physiotherapist. Commentary: “The purpose of this film is to show how those people who can neither manage the journey to a hospital nor afford to pay the full cost of a home visit can receive the benefits of the financially assisted mobile physiotherapy service. This is usually requested by the patient’s doctor, who writes a note to the unit. When it is received, the physiotherapist leaves on her journey.” She opens the note and leaves in her van, reading ‘East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapist Unit’.

Commentary: “Most hospitals nowadays have departments staffed by qualified physiotherapists with electrical and gymnastical apparatus and many aids which help to restore to normal or at least functional use, the patient’s disabilities. But this film shows people being treated in their own home, and that the National Health Service makes no provision.” A woman brings out a note to another physiotherapist, who drives away in her van. Commentary: "Among those who are in need of physiotherapy are those with arthritis, strokes...." List of conditions. Commentary: “The physiotherapist arrives at the patient’s house. She goes in to see what apparatus she may need and what facilities there are for performing her duties. This enables people to take more a more active part in life and feel that they are more useful in the community.” The therapist retrieves equipment from her van.

An elderly man lies in bed. Commentary: "In this case, the patient has been receiving some heat to his crippled joint in order to loosen them up before they are put through their range of movements.” The physiotherapist lifts and moves the patient's legs carefully. The patient moves his legs slowly, bending his knees under the supervision of the therapist. “This is the prime object of the physiotherapist; to reeducate the muscles to do a difficult job more easily.”

An elderly woman lies in bed. Pads on her leg are attached to a machine. The commentator explains the physiotherapist is using "short-wave diathermy". Commentary: "This is a move penetrating a form of heat which goes deeper into the more affected parts...”. The therapist turns the machine on, which makes the joints more supple. When the therapist has turned the machine off and taken the pads away, the patient undertakes leg and arm exercises under the supervision of the physiotherapist. “Here, her arms are being strengthened so that the sticks or crutches that she may have to use are firmly supported by her unaffected or less affected limbs.” The physiotherapist puts her coat on and leaves the woman's house while the commentator explains how these visits give patients contact with the outside world and the opportunity for "homely conversation".

The therapist's car pulls up outside a third patient's home. She lets herself in through the front door. The commentator explains that a “friendship is struck up between the physiotherapist and patient". The therapist opens a wooden box containing a solenoid to give a treatment called paradism. "an electric current is passed into the muscles. It's quite painless and it stimulates them to contract far more strongly". Her husband is bedridden, making hospital visits impossible. The therapist helps her to do finger and arm exercise. An apparatus is fixed to the ceiling, a sling allows her to move her arm, working the weaker arm into the exercises until it is strong enough to do it on its own.

Commentary: "Massage also has its place in physiotherapy in certain conditions." Rendering the muscles more supple. A man is seen sitting in a chair, while the therapist helps him to move his legs. She brings a walking aid to his chair, helping him to get about in his own home without the need for support. The therapist leaves the house.

A woman sits at a desk, looking into the camera. A dubbed voice starts to speak: “The cost of this service is met by funds collected in various ways by people willing to help those people less fortunate than themselves" A cheque being written out to the Mobile Physiotherapy Unit is seen. "Some make annual subscriptions, some have coffee parties or bridge parties. Some sell raffle tickets or organise bazars..." Footage of these events are shown. "Many help by buying and selling roses on Alexandra Rose Day each June." A woman approaches a house to collect money for the charity.

Male commentary closes the film, "It is indeed very rewarding for our physiotherapist". The woman who could not come to the door to meet the therapist can now walk outside with her. "One day, you too might perhaps be grateful for this service." "Perhaps next time you see a collecting box you will give generously to this worthy cause, for which no provision is made under the National Health Service"

End credits: The North Downs Cinematograph Society. The End.


A still from 'Help for the Housebound' (ca.1962)