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Physio broadcast from Hospital Chapel a holistic lifeline for patients

A UNIQUE exercise programme is being broadcast live to inpatients at University Hospital Limerick from the hospital chapel.

The Department of Physiotherapy has in recent weeks begun using this live feed to broadcast exercise sessions to patients on the wards.

“Each day we are broadcasting live exercise sessions through the chapel channel. This tele-rehab initiative allows us have a greater impact on our patients,” explained Aoife Hannon, Physiotherapist, UHL.

“Each day we have seen over 30 patients participate in the exercise sessions we are delivering and this is in addition to the physiotherapy service that continues to be delivered at ward level,” Ms Hannon added.

The initiative came about after Covid-19 forced all departments to reconsider how services were being delivered. While footfall on the wards has been reduced, physiotherapy sessions continue to be delivered in person at ward level where necessary infection prevention and control precautions are taken. The tele-rehab initiative has, however, been introduced as an additional service for inpatients at UHL.

Patricia O’Connell, Interim Physiotherapy Manager, UHL, said: “Patient feedback to date has been very encouraging. Time can pass slowly for hospital patients even at the best of times. During the pandemic, hospitals have unfortunately had to restrict visiting. Many patients are actively seeking an outlet to keep themselves engaged physically and mentally. Not only is it helping patients in their recovery but it has organisational benefits around reducing length of stay and aiding patient flow. And of course it helps keep spirits up.”

One patient taking enthusiastically to the programme on the trauma ward was Mary O’Reilly.

Mary unfortunately broke her femur while doing the gardening at home in Cratloe, County Clare.

Mary O'Reilly from Cratloe, an inpatient on the trauma ward at the hospital who enthusiastically took part in the programme.

“I was out watering the flowers last week and my legs just went and I ended up in here. I am into exercise anyway. I was diagnosed with MS in 1977 and the exercise programmes I do through the MS Society have always been a great help to me. I was delighted that I had the option of doing the exercise programme. Any kind of exercise you do can only be good for you when you’re trying to get back on your feet and the physios have been a great help,” said Mary.

Hospital chaplain Fr Éamon Purcell said: “The Pastoral Care Department are only too happy to play their part in the holistic care of the patients.”