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Crisis at Christmas calls for physios to empower homeless people

5 November 2013 - 5:29pm

Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, is asking physiotherapists to donate their services from Christmas Eve until Sunday 29 December.

crisis-at-christmas-c-andrew-meredith

Volunteer physios carried out 100-plus consultations for Crisis at Christmas. Photo: Andrew Meredith

Volunteers are needed to provide physiotherapy at all 10 of its Christmas centres in London, Edinburgh and Newcastle, following the success of a pilot scheme last year.

The charity has been running Crisis at Christmas for more than 40 years, offering shelter, companionship, hot meals, entertainment and health services throughout the Christmas week.

But last year for the first time it offered guests physiotherapy sessions, provided voluntarily by 10 qualified and10 student physios.

Over six days they carried out 104 physiotherapy consultations with 86 individuals, including one woman who travelled across London specifically for physiotherapy.

Empowering people

Jo Dawes, a CSP member and organiser of the physiotherapy service, said homeless people often suffer from co-morbidities that could benefit from physiotherapy. Yet their circumstances limit their ability to access mainstream healthcare.

‘We are not trying to replace mainstream services, but to empower homeless people to make better use of the health services they have the right to access,’ she said.

Speaking to Frontline about her experiences during the 2012 pilot, Ms Dawes said: ‘One guy was sleeping in the woods, just going from one place to another to avoid being moved on.

‘He is likely to have neck and back pain as long as he continues to sleep in this way, but during the consultation I was able to listen and support him and give him some basic advice.’

Crisis wants qualified physiotherapists who are HCPC registered and members of the CSP to provide assessment, treatment and advice; plus student physiotherapists to assist in running physiotherapy clinics.

The physiotherapy shifts will run from 8am to 3pm, from 10.30am to 5pm and from 1.30pm to 8.30pm from 24 to 29 December. Crisis asks for a minimum commitment of two shifts.

Applications for voluntary work can be made online. Further information is available on the Crisis website or by telephone on 0300 636 1000.

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