Having only recently become a rehabilitation engineer, I found it to be an extremely challenging and rewarding profession and, it is fair to say, my attendance at the Posture and Mobility Group (PMG) Conference 2017 has been the highlight of my time so far. I was encouraged by my colleagues to apply for the bursary to attend, and I am really glad that I listened.
The scale of the conference was the first thing that hit me. The vast array of stands in the exhibition, all displaying their latest innovations, made me feel like a deer in the headlights, not knowing which way to turn! My unease was not helped when I walked into the huge conference suite. However, the opening address by Chris Rattenbury, who talked about his life and work as an ambassador for the charity Wheelpower, really brought home the importance of the conference, serving as a reminder of the daily struggles and triumphs of people with disabilities. Events such as the PMG Conference really do serve to educate, and also help advance the practice of healthcare professionals.
The presentation Reducing temperature at the seat-patient interface in carved foam seating by Sarah Greasley covered a topic that I was already familiar with: in my previous job I had encountered many clients who asked if it was possible to increase the ventilation within foam carved seating. It was fascinating to learn that, under the seat cover at a depth of one centimetre, the foam was at room temperature. The conclusions from Sarah’s research have made me rethink my whole approach to the problem going forward. Her talk was truly enlightening, comprehensive and insightful, and I am excited to see where this research will lead in the future.
The conference was particularly impressive due to the unique opportunity afforded by having so many manufacturers at the exhibition. After listening to Hans Candeborn talk about the complex solutions provided by Matrix Seating, I was delighted to walk into the exhibition hall and find the Matrix stand. It provided the opportunity for me to discuss Matrix Seating and gain first-hand experience of how it is put together. I now feel confident that I understand the benefits of Matrix, and very much look forward to using it in the future. The exhibition hall was a real highlight of the conference for me, and I viewed some exciting future products over the two days. I have been able to pass on the benefits to my entire team through setting up product demonstrations by several companies with intriguing solutions and products.
One particular product that has added to my practice is the new Marley buggy from Rehabilitation Manufacturing Services Limited (RMS). It has been designed so that the tilt-in-space mechanism is part of the buggy which means there are no bars for children to catch their arms on. This has provided a good solution to suit a particular client, and shows how immediately information learned during the conference can benefit the end user.
PMG Conference 2017 was a resounding success, and I wish to thank all the organisers and sponsors for such an incredible event. I gained invaluable experience that will be of great benefit to my future practice. The contacts I made with other professionals, as well as with manufacturers, opened lines of communication that I was not previously aware of, and which will undoubtedly improve my overall service delivery for years to come.