12 July 2009

Extending Boundaries at BBLive 09

A chance phonecall from Julia La Garde, Business Development Manager at Physiofunction, lead to Physiotherapy and FES being a headline feature at Beyond Boundaries 2009.

Held at the site of the Farnborough Airshow over the weekend of 4th and 5th July, Beyond Boundaries attracted over 4000 visitors including many young disabled people and their families seeing how they could extend their Boundaries.

There were opportunities to have a scuba dive,rock climb, and get round various adapted army assault courses. Wheelchair users were treated to the Pimp My Wheelchair attraction – a fun take on the MTV show, Pimp My Ride.

The show feature though was Physiotherapy and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for Foot-drop.
Jon Graham, Clinical Director at Physiofunction. “We have seen so many of our clients extend their boundaries with FES – hill-walking, golf, tennis and taking up Triathlon following strokes, head injuries and incomplete spinal injuries. Mark Brewster, event organiser, immediately saw the potential for FES as a show feature and created the PHYSIOZONE”

Jon Graham showing Paddy Rozier who has bilateral footodrop from MS how much easier walking can be with FES

The PHYSIOZONE had three booths where visitors could have free assessments using FES systems from Odstock Medical (OML) and Bioness. It was OML’s original team at Salisbury District Hospital that produced the first practical solution for treating drop foot.
This January saw the NICE guidelines published which declared FES as a safe and effective treatment for people with drop foot caused by damage to the brain or spinal cord. However, a frustration with current FES systems is the wiring from the trigger switch to the stimulator and from the FES unit to the electrode pads that stimulate the muscles to lift the foot at the ankle. Users also struggle with placing the electrode pads on the correct position on their leg to obtain a functional foot lift.
Charlotte Standing struggled through heat and M25 traffic jams to try out the wireless FES system from Bioness.

Jon Graham, Clinical Director and Charlie King of Physiofunction South Yorkshire assessing a patient for wireless FES

In a week that saw the end of Britain’s Tennis dream with the defeat of Andy Murray in the semi- finals, Physiofunction worked with Ian Payne, National Youth Wheelchair Champion

GB Wheelchair Tennis Champ, Ian Payne extends his boundaries with the SaeboReach
“The PHYSIOZONE also gave us the opportunity to give free demonstrations of the other innovative technology that is available to assist with recovery” said Jon Graham, “Ian has cerebral palsy and movement restriction in his left arm is hampering his serve and his courtside wheelchair mobility. The Saeboreach by engaging the user in functional rehab programme using a dynamic upper limb splint will help them control spasticity and regain lost movement patterns.
Originally started in 1999, Physiofunction has become the UK‘s leading provider of private outpatient and community rehabilitation with a current coverage from North Yorkshire to its newly opened clinic at the Oxford Centre of Enablement.

“We use specialised Neurological Physiotherapy techniques, including Bobath and Charlie King’s NET system, and Innovative technology to maximise our clients independence,” Jon Graham , founder and clinical director.

“We obtained a trademark for providing Physiotherapy services, and plan to develop a Nationwide Neurological Physiotherapy service through by expanding the numbers of our existing branches and also through our proven franchise system. Our pilot franchise in North Yorkshire demonstrated the potential of franchising for those starting out in Private Practice and those wanting to extend their existing practice to new levels.”

Charlie King, a private practitioner of 12 years standing says:’ I could immediately see the benefit of joining a franchised business. As expert clinicians we have the clinical skill training to helping our clients achieve their rehab goals. However, we don’t have the time or often the opportunities to develop business skills including sales, marketing, PR and Recruitment, let alone payroll and VAT. I joined the franchise in April 2009 as Physiofunction South Yorkshire and have already seen my business develop. If I can grow my business, I can help more people and also help develop the skills of my employees by developing my role as a clinical consultant whilst the franchisor takes the stress and distraction of running my business away from me’
Foot drop and FES:
Foot drop is the inability to lift the foot at the ankle. It can be caused by damage to the brain and spinal cord through stroke, head injury and spinal injury. FES uses electrical stimulation to activate the muscles that lift the foot via either surface or more rarely implanted electrodes. A discrete switch usually worn under the users heel triggers the stimulator at the appropriate time to assist the user clear the ground as they swing their affected leg forward.

FES cannot usually help where drop foot is caused by damage to the peripheral nerve eg: diabetic neuropathy.
The 2 days spent ‘Spreading the word’ was one of the busiest features of the event.We have always offered to come and do similar days at any support groups – only a few of you have booked us
the offer is still available for free – let’s together spread the word and at least get people an assessment and trial so they know as soon as possible if it will work for them!!

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