Mid-July 2016, only two weeks into my new job working as a wheelchair therapist in Swindon Wheelchair Service, I was off to the PMG Conference as a bursar! As a newbie to the area and conference, I was excited to attend but did not know what to expect. However, having received all the emails and information on the conference programme beforehand, I knew it was going to jam packed!
My first challenge was finding the venue from the train station. However, on arrival I was welcomed by the friendly, helpful conference staff and pointed in the right direction for registration, where I joined the speed networking sessions on various discussion topics. As I was on my own, I found this invaluable for networking and meeting others prior to the first social event at Marmalade that evening.
The next day, the opening address from the PMG chair, Clare Canale, was very informative and set the scene for what to expect over the next few days. Above image of Clare, setting the scene for the PMG Conference 2016. Photograph courtesy of Suzie Hunt.
I was impressed by the opening plenary session from Ade Adepitan MBE. To hear first-hand his story of the trials he experienced growing up as a wheelchair user was both humbling and inspiring. By channelling his energy and determination in a positive way, Ade has gone on to achieve so much, including competing as a wheelchair basketball player at international level, TV presenting, and as an ambassador for Go Kids Go. He is such a great role model for young wheelchair users.
I attended the seminar on joint funded seating, which I found very informative and relevant to my practice. As a physiotherapist working previously for many years with individuals with neurological conditions, specialist seating and support was always a massive dark hole for clients and a big bugbear of mine. Due to the organisational barriers in place, it was very hard for clients to get the specialist assessment and equipment they required to support their posture over a 24-hour period. Having submitted an innovative idea to my manager on this very topic a few months earlier, it was inspiring to learn how this might be implemented in practice. Through integrated working and budgets, Barts Health NHS Trust, Tower Hamlets Health & Social Care & Educational Services, and Whizz-Kidz pooled resources to identify and provide a single seating solution for clients, in an attempt to improve the service for clients and save costs.
On reflection, the key learning points I gained from this seminar which would need to be considered and decided upon prior to setting up a similar service would be:
- Clarity of eligibility criteria;
- Responsibility for review, repair and maintenance of the equipment;
- Planning and consideration of the time, resources and training required for upskilling clinicians to carry out necessary postural assessments, and to prescribe the most appropriate seating system for each individual.
Armed with renewed enthusiasm, I feel better equipped to write a business case to provide this service, and demonstrate the effectiveness of it for all organisations involved, so watch this space……!
I have attended many external study days and conferences over the years, but have never been to such a well organised, enjoyable and professional event. The range of exhibition stands, products and knowledgeable professionals was very impressive. It was inspiring to be around peers so passionate about their field of work and improving posture and mobility for individuals.
I would like to thank PMG for the opportunity to attend the conference - I found it to be a valuable networking and inspiring experience.