In October 2015, we launched Home ward Ealing, which is a first step for the trust in running a physical healthcare service. Within the service we provide integrated physical and mental healthcare, as well as socialcare. Senior physiotherapist, Khushali Shah, transferred to West London NHS Trust when the service launched last October.
Khushali’s personal experience influenced her career decision to become a physiotherapist:
“When my grandfather had a hip replacement and needed physiotherapy, I realised that I’d like to train to do that.
There’s no real ‘typical day’ for me – I start off at Ealing Hospital for handover meetings, but then I can be sent anywhere to visit patients at home, or to work in Accident and Emergency (A&E).
It’s challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. Never knowing what I’m going to be faced with keeps the job interesting, as well as always motivating me to learn more.
Once we’ve assessed the patient, there’s a lot we can do for them in the community. We can provide them with any necessary equipment, help with home modifications like toilet rails, and give them short term rehab. Many people don’t realise we’re able to do ECGs, give intravenous drugs, and take blood samples from the comfort of their own home. This allows patients in Ealing to get the help they need without coming to hospital, and helps to ensure hospital beds are available for the people that need them most.
I’ve noticed that many people we treat for physical pain also suffer from conditions like anxiety and depression. It’s great that we’re now better equipped to deal with these sorts of issues too, through one joined-up service. We treat conditions like falls, urinary tract infections, dizziness and also conditions such as shortness of breath.
We’re now trained in cognitive screening ourselves, so we don’t have to rely on GPs to refer people into mental health services. This means patients can get help through this one team, much more quickly, so their overall wellbeing is much better cared for.
Working in A&E is probably the most challenging part of my job. We have strict four-hour targets in which to see patients, so we want to get people seen and treated as soon as possible. As physiotherapists we are trained to look at many aspects of healthcare, so we become the A&E gatekeepers in a way, using our clinical instincts to ensure nobody gets discharged unsafely.
We take a very holistic approach to our patients’ healthcare. Once we’ve referred someone on to another service, there are always meetings with the whole team to find out what happens to them, and make sure they’re receiving the most appropriate treatment."
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