For me the 18th-20th July 2016 was a very special and exciting period, because I was in Birmingham attending the PMG Conference.
The presentations were professionally delivered and presented, and the session on poliomyelitis had a particular impact on me. After qualifying as a physiotherapist, I treated children with poliomyelitis in Uganda. Seeing this issue being discussed at the PMG Conference 2016 in Birmingham brought home the reality of environmental influences on achievement and development. Ade Adepitan’s opening story also highlighted this. The significant changes brought about by immunisation cannot be under-estimated, and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) efforts to make polio a global enemy has helped to make it history in some areas of the world. It would however be unreasonable to ignore it, and to forget its effects on health and well-being. Photo of Dr Eliezar Okirie's presentation "Gone but not forgotten - the impact of polio in the UK in the 21st century" at PMG Conference 2016. Photograph courtesy of Suzie Hunt.
The work being done by WHO and the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals in relation to wheelchair service training packages was of much interest to me because I am aware that there might be other professionals who, having qualified as physiotherapists, may not have much practical training in relation to wheelchairs or special seating; I can barely remember the basic training in wheelchair use from my physiotherapy curriculum. It may not be very relevant to many reading about Uganda’s past but, when I recently joined a wheelchair service, it became very clear to me that there was a big gap in my knowledge. The need to increase the capacity of professionals who are effective and competent in wheelchair services highlighted the need to include special seating, pressure ulcer prevention/care and wheelchair assessment/prescription in the physiotherapy curriculum. With an aging population, I believe the WHO initiative is the right way to go.
As a physiotherapist, I have had a long-term interest in tissue viability and the prevention of pressure ulcers. My master’s degree in Rehabilitation Studies at the University of Southampton in 1994 included research in this area, so I was pleased to attend the presentation by Dr Peter Worsley (Lecturer in Rehabilitative Bioengineering, Southampton General Hospital) entitled A bioengineering approach to early detection and prevention of pressure ulcers. I believe that with early pressure ulcer detection, prevention would be enhanced, both in the acute as well as in the community care settings.
The on-site exhibition displaying the many different and latest types of rehabilitation equipment on the market meant a lot to me. In addition, the bookstand provided a valuable additional resource.
The conference was a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues, and to make new connections. The welcome/opening event at Marmalade and the Gala Dinner were the icing on the cake!
I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this very informative and educational conference.