July 2016 was the first PMG Conference I have attended and I hope it won’t be the last! As I am still fairly new to the wheelchair service, I’m trying to gain as much experience as possible where I can, and it was my senior rehabilitation engineer who introduced me to PMG, suggesting that this would be the perfect next step in my quest for knowledge.
Opening the ceremony, and truly setting the tone for the event, was Ade Adepitan, patron of the charity Go Kids Go. Hearing about their work with young people in wheelchairs was inspirational, with their aim to equip young wheelchair users with the skills to help them reach their full potential and increase their confidence. I look forward to using Ade’s inspirational life story to help me in the future.
All the lectures were engaging, but I found the one by Mr Martin Gough, orthopaedic surgeon at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, to be particularly enlightening. His talk on the spinal surgery he has performed on young children was of great interest, and his views on, and experiences of, postural correction have stuck in my mind and will aid me in my job for many years to come.
As I am hoping to progress my career within wheelchair services I was fortunate enough to select two parallel sessions which I feel will help me along the way. One was about the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) wheelchair service training packages. The main purpose of the training package is to develop the minimum skills and knowledge required by personnel involved in wheelchair service delivery. Such training has resulted in many under-resourced regions of the world setting up a wheelchair service, and the step-by-step guide helps ensure that consistent services are provided. As it is my personal goal to support the delivery of consistent wheelchair services in the UK, I have found this training programme particularly useful in my everyday practice.
The second session was Evidence based healthcare - critical appraisal skills in the context of neuro-disability by Wendy Murphy. The presentation was particularly useful as it has given me a greater understanding of the level of evidence/research I would need to carry out in my degree and can use to help further my career and educational aspirations in the future. However, for a kinaesthetic learner like myself, I found this session difficult to follow, but still worth a visit.
Attending the conference was a positive and eye-opening experience. I was not only motivated by the knowledge of those giving the talks on various topics, I was also astounded by the commitment and organisation of everyone involved in putting the event together. Through taking notes in the conference room and talking to various different manufacturers I was able to walk away with an increased knowledge and confidence in many aspects of posture and mobility, and for this I am sincerely thankful.
I would most definitely attend the PMG Conference again. The information and experiences gained through attending cannot, and should not, be missed by anyone in the field. I am hoping to add this event to my annual calendar!
Above photograph is of Tamsin Langford presenting during Motivation's session about using the WHO wheelchair service training packages in the UK.
Photo courtesy of Suzie Hunt.