Diary of Ine (physiotherapist): what an experience..

“As a last year student physiotherapist, these 2 weeks are full of rich experiences. Many pathologies that I know from the books, do actually appear here, and many times with secondary problems. For instance, we visited Henri, a HIV patient with the diagnosis of transverse myelitis caused by TB. CBR team International had visited him last year in the acute phase aswell. He was paralysed in the legs and he had a lot of pain the back. At that time, pressure relief positionings, transfert techniques and bowel massages were thaught to him. This year we were very eager to see how he is doing. After a year of regular home visits by our CBR worker Nick, and a lot of courage and motivation from Henri, he is walking independently again. In his garden we could find some parallel bars to do walking exercises. Thanks to CBR team International Henri also received cruthes. The next step is to built strength, to maintain mobility and to improve his walking pattern. Henri’s biggest wish is to get started again as a mecanic.

I love to see how this project is improving the lives of people and sometimes even save them. Of course, not all stories are succes stories. There is a lot of need to create awareness of the parents about their disabled child. Nick and other CBR workers, and the parents, therefor are trained by CBR team International about CP, spina bifida and polio. This training consists of positioning techniques, mobilisations, and stimulation. It’s a challenge to transfer this information to Nick and the care givers without making it too complex. The information, techniques and exercises need tob e applicable in this day to day setting, for as many patients as possible, but with a personal touch.

Next to the home visits, there’s also ‘medical camps’; persons with disabilities come here for the first time, without medical diagnosis. These people will get a medical screening, and after that the most important techniques are explained to the care giver. It is a challenge to pick the right techniques fort he family members, based on a short screening, and a medical diagnosis you sometimes only know from the books. It is always a good balance you have to look for: explain to the family what is really important without getting into detail.

I think this project is a go for every physio that wants to act (and get dirty), in a developping setting. And you can do it with the newest evidence on physiotherapy. And then of course you learn a lot about a project within the community, counting all these experiences and impressions …”

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