Jo Patrick’s Story
Jo Patrick - Peadiatric Physiotherapist
“You have to be quite inventive as a Children’s Physiotherapist and do a lot of the treatment through games and distraction play. Sometimes you could be singing a little song, or if they’re interested in things like dance or football ,you can tailor the movements towards their hobbies. You have to find out what motivates them because often you can’t reason with them when they’re so young so you have to find a way to connect with them.
“You have to think on your feet a lot of the time. I can see anyone from a child with musculoskeletal problems to a child with juvenile arthritis, and ranging in age from three months to 18 years old. My role is to assess what they need and what their goals are and help them get back to fitness. I like the fact that to do that, I have to make myself look a bit silly sometimes – so I might end up dancing around like a chicken with a patient to get them on side and build up a rapport. It’s nice getting the families on side too. We need them to work with us, as they’ll need to do the exercises with their children when they get home.
“We have an amazing hydro pool. We did have a few toys around it before, but it was quite clinical. Now, thanks to the charity, we have lots of different lights in the room, including LED strips, which are all different colours. Some of our children have learning difficulties, so they really benefit from the sensory aspect of the pool. If someone can’t speak, but they’re not visually impaired it can really excite them and helps us to get a bit more activity from them. We’ve also got a bubble tube, which creates a lot of fun in the pool.
“The teenagers like our linked up music system so they can play the music they want and we can use it in therapy sessions to make it more tailored to them. All of the extras funded by the charity create a nicer environment for the children; it offers an escape from the clinical environment of the ward.
“No one day is the same and it’s challenging work, but I love what I do.”