I am truly grateful to PMG for offering me the chance to attend their 2016 Conference. As a physiotherapist trained abroad, I embrace any chance I get to expand my knowledge and learn from other people’s experiences, and this was an amazing experience, a real source of information and networking opportunities.
I have been working as a physiotherapist for over 10 years, but recently I took on a new challenge by becoming a clinician working with one of the wheelchair services in Scotland. I am very lucky to have joined a small team of clinicians with vast experience and a lot of patience, always there to support me and to offer advice. I had only just started this job when my team leader advised me to join PMG. She then encouraged me to apply for a bursary to attend the annual conference, and my application was successful!
Ahead of the event there was much excitement, high expectations and, I have to admit, there was a bit of fear too. Attending an event of this scale is a bit daunting!
PMG couldn’t have chosen a better speaker to open the conference than Ade Adepitan. His story is hugely inspiring, and he is living proof that nothing is impossible. Believing in yourself, and having the right attitude, can make the difference between failure and success. It’s true that not everyone will become a Paralympic medallist or a media star, but we all have our own challenges to face, and the most important thing is to strive beyond them all.
A very helpful parallel session was delivered by two members of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP). Both presentations were extremely informative and helped me to develop a better understanding of the subject in terms of risk factors, and causes and types of pressure that can lead to the development of pressure ulcers. Many of my patients complain of being uncomfortable and, although sometimes a few alterations to their wheelchairs might help, far too many times poor positioning and poor management of sitting are directly responsible for complications that could easily be prevented. I believe strongly that educating carers and patients alike could help reduce the risk of developing pressure ulcers in many cases. With the risk of sometimes offending my patients, the care staff and other healthcare professionals, I always make sure that they understand the risk people are exposed to when spending too much time without changing position, even when a high risk cushion is used.
Another interesting session was Making life better: postural management and surgery for the child and adult with complex disability. I must admit that, as a physiotherapist, I have a tendency to try to ‘fix’ people but, soon after becoming a wheelchair clinician, I realised that this approach might not always be practicable or beneficial to the patients. Patients are special and unique and, although we are the seating specialists, we have to trust their judgement in order to help them fulfil their potential.
I would like to thank PMG for all their efforts to make this year’s conference an unforgettable experience, and would encourage others to attend future events.
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!