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Therapies Unite sets up posture clinic in Mexico

7 July 2015 - 2:48pm

Physiotherapist-led charity Therapies Unite has established its first postural management clinic in Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Therapies Unite sets up posture clinic in Mexico

Laura Brown (left) said another first was a pilot to cast moulded wheelchairs for children

2015 Adapt Award

Applications close on 31 July for a £1,000 bursary to raise awareness of the great physio work being done internationally and how the profession in low income countries can be promoted. See the Adapt website for more information. Adapt is the professional network for physiotherapists involved in international health.

The clinic is run by a local physiotherapist and a support worker, Therapies Unite founder Laura Brown told Frontline.

Ms Brown created the charity in 2010. She spends six months of the year as an NHS physiotherapist in the West Midlands, specialising in postural management. During the rest of the year she works in Mexico.

Ms Brown spent the first five months of this year helping to set up the new clinic, including training and supporting local staff.

‘They are now doing assessments for patients and adapting existing equipment that has been donated from the UK, as well as ordering equipment locally,’ she said.

Another first in 2015 was a pilot project to create moulded wheelchairs for five children. The wheelchairs were cast in Puerto Vallarta and manufactured by a UK-based charity.

Most of the families the charity works with would not be able to afford healthcare, Ms Brown said. In addition, they live far – sometimes a 10-hour bus journey – from a major city offering specialist therapy.

The charity loved to have volunteers, she said. It tried to tailor projects to the skills of volunteers, who include physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.

‘We work predominately with children with disabilities, but also see adults with general musculoskeletal problems, rheumatology problems, amputees. And we care for older people,’ she said.

This year three UK-based physios and a support worker have volunteered, said Ms Brown. There are opportunities for specialists to deliver training because education is an important part of the charity’s work.

‘Our specialists include people who are interested in postural management and hydrotherapy. If someone thinks “Wow, this would be brilliant to take over there”, then we’re always interested in finding specialists who we can fund to go out and do projects for us.’

Therapies Unite recycles redundant stock – wheelchairs, orthotic shoes or other items – and has teams to collect suitable equipment.

Ms Brown will spend three weeks in Puerto Vallarta in August when three students from Keele University will be on placement. She also wants to check the progress of the postural management clinic and an equipment delivery.

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