Seeking out solutions
NICOLA Hunter will travel overseas next year to investigate life-changing therapy solutions for quadriplegia patients that are not readily available in Australia.
The Royal Perth Hospital Shenton Park campus senior occupational therapist will visit the US, Canada, Sweden and the UK as part of the prestigious Churchill Fellowship, which provides opportunities for professionals to conduct research projects in their field of excellence.
Mrs Hunter has worked as an OT for more than 20 years and said she hoped to identify different clinical practises from around the world and implement them at the new Fiona Stanley Hospital follow- ing RHP Shenton Park campus’ relocation there next month.
“We go on October 4 to Fiona Stanley and the innovations that I am really looking are something we will be working towards offering our patients,” she said.
Mrs Hunter will examine various groundbreaking treatment options including robot assisted therapy and post-nerve and tendon transplant therapy, which would help reduce the burden of care and greatly improve quality of life for quadriplegia patients.
“The priority for people with quadriplegia is regaining the functional use of their upper limbs and my goal is to explore new treatments to expand the role of occupational therapy for patients with spinal cord injuries,” she said.
“I am hoping that using these treatments will help them become more independent so they will be able to do things like feed themselves, maybe get a drink or use their mobile phones – just some of those very basic tasks.”
Senior occupational therapist Nicola Hunter is the recipient of a prestigious Churchill Fellowship.