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Friday, June 25, 2010

Physiotherapy at FFC

Mukhil Singh, the physiotherapist at FFC, has been very welcoming and invited us to join him for some of his therapy sessions with the kids. Mukhil, along with a few PT students, provide therapy to many of the children living at FFC. Since there are so many children who would benefit from PT, he explained that he has to focus on those with the most significant needs. Most of his clients live in Special or Extra Special Care, and range in age from infancy to adulthood.

We observed Mukhil provide PT to five children in Extra Special Care, and found that most of the focus was on preventing or managing contractures and promoting mobility. Therapeutic equipment used for his clients included Ankle-Foot Orthotics (AFOs), leg braces, walkers, wheelchairs, and a therapy ball. Here, we met seven year old Senthil sitting in his new wheelchair. Last year’s IHI team donated $2300 towards the ‘Mobility India project,’ which allowed FFC to purchase 15 wheelchairs. Many of the chairs that were available before this time were adult-sized, so these child-sized chairs were very much appreciated and are clearly being put to good use.The main difference we’ve noticed between the sessions we observed and those in Canada is that a single piece of equipment may be used for a number of children, and is not customized to fit a given child. In Canada, it seems that there is more of a focus on equipment being the perfect fit for the child. Although this isn’t the case at FFC, the children really seem to benefit from the therapies that are provided and are flourishing given the circumstances. Each of these children lit up and were so proud to be able to walk independently (using the walker or while wearing leg braces or AFOs). There are so many children here who move around very functionally and independently without any adaptive equipment. It really seems that children are very creative, and will find a way to do what they need to do, regardless of the equipment they may or may not have access to.When speaking with Mukhil, he explained that the individuals at FFC would greatly benefit from a standing table, as well as equipment to use for electrical stimulation. His department is also in need of more small equipment like therapy balls, foam wedges and rolls. Near the end of our time with FFC, we will look at the needs of the different care areas and split up our $2500 donation accordingly.

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