Physiotherapists were among the clinicians whose achievements and contributions to healthcare the Scottish Health Awards 2018 celebrated, at a ceremony in Edinburgh on 1 November.
Geraldine Law, interim lead for learning disabilities and child health physiotherapy at Queen Margaret Hospital in Fife, received the ‘Therapist Award’ at the event.
She received praise for her work at Calaiswood School in West Fife, which provides specialist education for children and young people with complex and additional support needs.
During her time at the school, Ms Law has recognised that many of the students were falling short of achieving the recommended daily physical activity guidelines, which suggest that children should have at least an hour of exercise a day.
As a result, Ms Law has worked with school staff and parents to create a therapy programme that aims to improve the physical, social, and emotional well-being of children with limited mobility.
Trialling a motorised training device
The programme involves a range of targeted projects that aim to encourage children who are non-ambulant to be more active.
These include the use of rebound therapy, race running with adapted bikes, and the trial of a new motorised training device known as the Innowalk Pro.
As part of the project, the Innowalk Pro was trialled with three children at the school and led positive outcomes that included improved sleep, better moods, improved concentration and improved standing. In addition, one child Ms Law worked was able to complete over 10km of walking in four weeks, while using the device.
In Ms Law’s award nomination, the child’s parents stated that: ‘Our own daughter, who is unable to walk unaided normally, completed 10km during the Innowalk trial and showed a marked improvement in her overall strength, her ability to stand with minimal support, improved concentration, gait pattern, sleeping and bowel movement.
‘She is also now capable of walking 200-300 metres on a RaceRunning bike, which she would never have been able to achieve just a few months ago.
‘New children are moving into the system every year too, so the project that Geraldine started has the potential to improve the lives of generations of children in the local community.’
Lanarkshire’s Think Activity team
Physiotherapists are also part of a multidisciplinary Larnarkshire team that received the ‘Top Team’ award.
The Think Activity team includes health care professionals from across NHS Lanarkshire, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University.
They received recognition of their promotion of various activities to hospital patients - such as a virtual hill hike – which are designed to offset the negative impact of sedentary behaviour.
The initiative, known as the Think Activity Project, has been implemented at Kello Hospital, in Biggar, a 17-bed community hospital that provides inpatient services for adults and older people.
It aims to ensure that patients feel they are in control of their own goals and health outcomes and involves a range of person-centred activities. These have including involving patients small groups, such as music and movement, singing and dancing and crafts and games; encouraging them to stand up and sit down during television adverts and inspiring them to take part in a challenge to climb the equivalent steps required to scale the 2,333ft peak of a local hill.
The programme has also developed an ‘activity passport’, which enables patients to express their likes, dislikes, and encourages them to set realistic personal goals for activity achievement.
Evaluation of the project has showed a marked increase in activity levels and positive feedback from patients.
Speaking about the contribution physiotherapists have made to the project, Euan McComiskie, UK health informatics lead at the CSP, said: ‘Physio staff were very much an integral part of the Kello multidisciplinary team in this project, and like the other professionals supported the ethos that activity matters.
‘They supported music and movement and move and improve groups, and also assisted with the development of the activity passport in conjunction with their occupational therapy colleagues.’
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