Seek­ing out so­lu­tions

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - By EMILY BAKER

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.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d425626

Se­nior oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist Ni­cola Hunter is the re­cip­i­ent of a pres­ti­gious Churchill Fel­low­ship.

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