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Trauma orthopaedic therapy

The Trauma Orthopaedic Therapy Team based on Ward 14A cares for patients who unexpectedly find themselves in hospital after sustaining a serious injury – for example, after a fall.

The team  of occupational therapists, physiotherapists and therapy assistants operates seven-days-a-week with a lighter service at the weekend to cover all high priority patients, including patients who are medically optimised and awaiting discharge, and those who are first day post-surgery.

The occupational therapists (OTs) assess patients’ mobility and ability to transfer as well as carrying out functional tasks e.g. washing and dressing practice to ensure their discharge can be as seamless as possible.

OTs can recommend and provide equipment and advice on techniques to manage on discharge to enable a patient to obtain their best potential.

The physiotherapists use a wide range of treatment techniques and approaches to assist patients with their recovery. They use therapeutic exercises designed to improve mobility and strengthen the affected area of the body. Patients ability to transfer (e.g. from bed to chair) and walk will be assessed and practiced, and aids may be provided to assist them to do this as safely as possible.

OTs and physiotherapists may provide braces and splints to patients, depending on advice from the patient’s consultant.

The therapy team carries out group activities with patients that may be identified as having additional needs, or show an interest in taking part in the group. Activities include: exercises; games such as dominoes; reminiscence groups, etc. These are a good time for patients to socialise while in hospital as well as therapists to continue further assessments.

Beyond hospital

Following from the assessments  the therapy team provides, a home visit may be needed and any potential need for equipment assessed.

This may be highlighted if it is felt that the homes needs altering after a hospital stay, e.g. if a patient needs to be downstairs living on discharge.

A home visit may be carried out, where a patient is taken home with a therapist for an assessment period, prior to coming back to hospital. This is used to ensure that a patient can manage functionally at home and for any concerns to be addressed prior to a patient’s discharge.

Within Orthopaedics, the therapists run discharge scheme where we aim to assess the patient in their own environment and leave them at home if it is assessed that they are safe.

The therapy team can organise follow out visits for patients discharged home and who need ongoing therapy that may only need  one or two visits e.g. stair assessment following downstairs living. If a patient has ongoing therapy and needs more support, a referral on to a community team will be made.

The therapy team will also follow out patients who are from residential and nursing homes.

Often a hospital can be disorientating for these patients and once they are medically fit it would be in their best interests for them to return to their home environment, but with therapy support to optimise their level of need and independence.

The therapy staff, who are aware of the patients’ needs from rapport built in hospital, work with the staff in the patients’ home to give education on the patients’ level of mobility and the safest ways to transfer.

Once a patient no longer needs to be in hospital but assessed as not safe to return home and further therapy needed, the  therapy team will discuss with the patient the best discharge option for them.

This may include ongoing rehabilitation in another facility. If a patient is not at a level that they will manage at home, and there are no ongoing therapy needs, they may also be referred on to social services for advice on a placement. However, this will all be discussed with the patient, and family when highlighted, and agreed upon.