Physiotherapists are helping almost 200 children with serious illnesses and disabilities to have a dream holiday in Orlando, Florida, this October.
A group of Dreamflight staff and children visiting Disneyland in 2015
The annual 10-day trip is organised by UK charity Dreamflight. All the children, who are agedfrom 8-14, travel without their parents and require medical, nursing or physiotherapy care.
Helen Douglas, a clinical physio who works in the cystic fibrosis service at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, is part of a multidisciplinary team of volunteers supporting the children during this year’s journey.
She told Frontline: ‘We are taking 192 children who are divided into groups of 16 and every group is accompanied by a physiotherapist, a paediatrician, three nurses and some non-medical helpers.
‘We usually have a child with a respiratory condition in each group, so they need airway clearance techniques twice a day.
‘There are also children with neurological or musculoskeletal conditions who need exercises or supportive treatments. And a large part of the physio role is managing moving and handling and risk assessing.’
She added that physios can get involved by fundraising for the charity, volunteering for the annual trip and nominating children to take part.
Nominations can be made by any medical professional involved in the care of a deserving child. The selection process starts in January each year and closes in April, while the trip is always held in October.
‘It is always over-subscribed so we advise people not to tell the children they are nominating, but obviously discuss it with their family,’ said Ms Douglas.
‘We only take a limited number of new physios each year. It’s a busy trip, so the more experience you have the better, but we are always after new people getting involved.’
Ms Douglas has worked with the charity for more than 10 years and will be acting as a group leader during the upcoming trip.
For more information visit: www.dreamflight.org or email Helen Douglas at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Robert Millett
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