Physiotherapists have welcomed the re-opening of a hydrotherapy pool in Northern Ireland, following a £120,000 refurbishment project.
The pool at Craigavon Area Hospital relaunched with great fanfare, with special guests Rory Best, Irish Rugby Union player and captain of Ireland's International team and patient Odhran Smyth, attending the event.
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust agreed to modernise the pool to meet the latest recommended Aquatic Therapy Standards and guidelines. It now has new ensuite changing, toilet and shower facilities, additional storage space for equipment and a ceiling hoist to allow the safe transfer of patients with limited mobility into the pool.
‘The advantage is that patients with a range of disabilities can now use the track and hoist to take them from the pool and back again, so it’s really good from a patient quality point of view,’ said the hospital’s head of physiotherapy Teresa Ross.
In 2016, the Craigavon Area Hospital hydrotherapy team became the first in the UK to use aquatic therapy to treat critically ill patients who require ventilation support whilst in the water, which has helped to raise its profile within the trust and beyond.
Ms Ross added that the trust is ‘very supportive’ of the use of hydrotherapy in physiotherapy and rehab.
‘We have two pools and there will be a new pool as part of a new primary care centre that is being developed,’ she said.
The investment in Northern Ireland comes as Frontline published a letter, in its 3 October issue, about a physio-led project to map the number of NHS hydrotherapy pools across the UK, with the aim of protecting them as anecdotal evidence suggests they face increasing threat of closure.
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