Letters - 21 November 2012

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Turkey update

Turkey Update, Mind-blowing Advice, Name Game and Skewed View

I would like to update readers on our experiences of working in the rehab centres in Reyhanli in southern Turkey (Frontline, 7 November, page 12).

We arrived in Turkey early one morning and, following a few hours sleep, were taken to one of the rehab centres.

The injured are initially assessed at the border and decisions are made over whether they require acute hospital care or rehabilitation.

Where appropriate, the injured are sent to a centre that was converted from a hotel at the beginning of the conflict in Syria. Each small room is occupied by a least two patients, plus several family members who had accompanied them. They helped with basic care needs such as feeding and toileting.

The patients at the centre were victims of sniper attacks, shellings, direct combat, and, sadly, torture. Some were only four years old.

There were many amputees and a vast number of orthopaedic trauma patients, including severe fractures and peripheral nerve injuries.

In addition, we treated patients with brain injuries and resultant hemiplegias, and spinal cord injuries presenting with para and tetra-plegia.

Despite the severity of the injuries, the motivation of the patients was outstanding.

The staff at the centre included a small number of nurses, doctors and five rehabilitation staff.

They understood the basic principles of treatment and were keen to learn how to rehabilitate their patients further. As well as teaching, we provided splinting and equipment to assist the patients’ recovery.

We hope the patients and staff gained as much as we did, and hope to return to the centre in the new year with more equipment and to provide more teaching.
Suzanne Lane (by email)

mind-blowing advice

Is it me, or does anyone share my frustration at people’s attempts to embroider ordinary, commonsense observations with complex intellectualised or professional terminology in order to validate their role?

In ‘Physio findings’ (7 November), readers of an item titled ‘What really causes falls?’ were told the most common problem was ‘incorrect weight shifting’.

This, it was explained, happened ‘when people moved their centre of gravity beyond their base of support’.

So what other type of fall is there? When do you fall without moving your centre of gravity beyond your base of support? This ‘in- depth’ study spent a lot of time and money watching people falling over, in order to establish that they fall over because they are not maintaining their balance.

And then there was the concluding paragraph: ‘Staff in care homes should be alert to residents’ risk of tripping over furniture.’

Really? I would think twice before quoting this mind-blowing new advice to care home managers, as you might end up with a black eye, and deservedly so! I sometimes wonder what my profession is coming to.  
Pat O’Brien (by email)

Name game

After a 40-year-career as a physiotherapist, I recently became a patient as I required a total hip replacement.

I received treatment in two hospitals from four different physiotherapists. Though the exercises and advice were excellent, I was shocked that two of the physios – one in each hospital – wore no indication of their profession.

Plain white T-shirts, dark trousers, flat shoes, but no name badge and nothing to indicate they were, in fact, fully qualified, chartered physiotherapists.

Since they didn’t tell me their surnames I had no way of checking their Health and Care Professions Council status either.

Is this yet another indicator of NHS cutbacks in not providing proper uniforms and identification or laissez-faire attitudes from management?
(Name and address withheld at member’s request)

Skewed View

The article (‘Capital Idea’, 7 November) on the London stroke strategy neglected to report the continued under-funding and under-commissioning of community-based stroke services.

Although the strategy has demonstrated improvements in the management of acute stroke, it has not yet managed to tackle the challenges faced by many London based-community services in trying to deliver high-quality responsive rehabilitation for stroke patients once they leave hospital.  

As a physiotherapist working in south east London, I was disappointed that the report did not adequately reflect the full picture of stroke services across London.  
Liz Farrar (by email)

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