Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Helping Hands

PROGRAM: Faculty Placement
PROJECT: Physiotherapy
WRITTEN BY: Ali Thomas

Karan hospital
Amanda and Ryan have been completing placement at Karan hospital physiotherapy clinic. In the morning, they look forward to a refreshing fruit box on arrival and greeting their Indian physiotherapy educator who is "Indian Fonz" says Ryan. There is no strict appointment schedule like we're used to in Australia and gradually, the waiting rooms fill up with patients. "Indian Fonz" does the translating and asks the patients what their main problems are (ranging from lower back pain to old fractures, paraplegia and tennis elbow) then Amanda and Ryan are able to practice manual techniques they've learnt at home to treat pain, stiffness or weakness. The techniques we use at home are quite different to India where they tend to use a lot of electro therapies. Amanda and Ryan have found it interesting to teach the Indian physiotherapist a few of the manual techniques we use in Australia and educate him about the evidence of their effect.

Goenka private physiotherapy clinic Heidi and Jack have been at Goenka physiotherapy clinic from the start of the placement and Kath and I have joined for the last 2 weeks. It has been an interesting experience with only a handful of the patients speaking English and no Indian physiotherapists around all the time to translate. One Indian physiotherapist wanders between the rooms to check in on patients and treatment techniques. The experience here is quite similar to the other private practice with the Indian physiotherapy course focusing on electro therapies and minimal manual techniques. Each patient receives their electrical modality from the Indian physiotherapists and then they are seen by the students from UniSA for manual therapies. At this private practice, there isn't an appointment schedule either and we filter through the patients throughout the morning. At both private practices, the students are able to practice their clinical reasoning for different patient presentations and practice a variety of manual techniques.

Rotary children's school Kath, Luci, Jacquie and I attended the Rotary school for the first half of placement and now Alice, Elise and Alexa are attending the school for the second half. The school has 20 boarding students and 20 who arrive by bus each morning. All the students are mentally and/or physically disabled, with the most common presentations being cerebral palsy and Down's syndrome. The morning is spent with select students who need a physiotherapy focus to improve their ball skills, fine motor skills and general function of everyday activities so they can interact more easily with other children. The children have already made so much progress in the first half and we all can't wait to see their overall progress at the end of placement. The last half an hour is spent dancing with all 40 of the students to traditional music. The children are so sweet and the pure joy on their faces while they jump around together is one of the most rewarding images. A photo of the girls with some of their students they've been working with can be seen above. 

Home visits Elise, Alice and Alexa attended the home visits for the first half of placement and now Jacquie and Luci are carrying on with the same patients for the second half. They attend three homes of patients who would find it too difficult to leave and make their way to a physiotherapy clinic. This placement site takes on a rehabilitation focus for patients who have had strokes, leg fractures and other long term physical issues. The families are all so lovely and welcome the girls into their homes with traditional tea, juice and snacks throughout each of the treatment sessions. The patients in these sessions have already made such great progress as well with one in particular being able to get down stairs for first time in 3 months and almost ready to return to work. A photo of the girls with some of their clients and families on home visits can be seen below.

All the sites have shown a completely different side of physiotherapy to each of the students and seeing something so varied to the hospitals and sites in Australia has been an experience we've all learnt so much from.

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