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For parents

What do we do?

We assess and treat patients' who are unable to cough and clear their own secretions, as well as mobilise or set up exercise programs for those who need rehabilitation. Treatment methods will vary depending on the patient's age and condition.

What do we treat?

  • Chest infections - particularly those with an over production of mucus and difficulty clearing them. Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
  • Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD)
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Neuromuscular weakness - in particular with neuromuscular weakness we will treat patients who are struggling with their secretions, have weak cough and as a result have difficulty clearing them.
  • Patients who require specific rehabilitation, as a result of a neurological condition or severe illness.  Patients with decreased mobility as a result of recent illness or surgery.
  • Patients who are well known to the physiotherapy team and already have an established programme. Sometimes these programmes need to be reviewed and altered whilst they are in hospital.

Do we see everyone?

Not all patients with respiratory problems (increased secretions or infections) need to be seen by a physiotherapist. Sometimes by being encouraged to mobilise and keep active by the nursing staff no physiotherapist is needed.

For those who do need to be seen by the physiotherapists a full assessment will be carried out. However it is important to remember that not all respiratory conditions require or benefit from physiotherapy input. In some cases physiotherapy can be detrimental to patients, for example patients with bronchiolitis or those suffering from a viral induced wheeze. In these cases the physiotherapists will work with the Doctor to assess whether or not physiotherapy input is appropriate. 

What does physiotherapy treatment involve?

A full in-depth assessment will be carried out by a paediatric physiotherapist in order to gather all the relevant information about the patients' current condition. From this an individual treatment plan will be created specific to the patient and their current presentation. This will be discussed with both the child and the parents, and may utilise some of the techniques outlined below.

  • Education - to ensure that you and your child understand what is causing the problems and how you can best manage it.
  • Advice - Some situations do not require active physiotherapy treatment, only advice on how to manage symptoms.
  • Mobilisation - keeping active is one of the best ways to clear the chest and ensure the lungs are well inflated; therefore we encourage patients to get out of bed and move as soon as they safely can.
  • Exercise Rehabilitation - appropriate exercise helps improve muscles weakness, balance problems, promotes independent function, clears lungs of sputum. Please see the rehabilitation tab for specific information.
  • Exercise plan - the physiotherapist may give you exercises to do outside of the physiotherapy sessions. This helps continuing to build of the progress your child makes during physiotherapy sessions.
  • Hydrotherapy - there is a hydrotherapy pool available for use as an inpatient, however suitability will be thoroughly assessed on an individual basis dependant on each child's condition.
  • Airway clearance/ airway clearance equipment - there is a large variety of treatment techniques that physiotherapists can use for airway clearance treatments. These will be used on a tailored basis dependant on your child's presentation and condition. These can include specific breathing exercises, blowing games, manual techniques and use of varying items of respiratory equipment. 

What wards do we cover?

  • Caterpillar ward
  • Apollo ward
  • All HDU's on caterpillar, daisy, penguin and dolphin ward
  • We also cover all medical, respiratory and surgical outlier patients (those on other wards), who require physiotherapy input.

How can you refer to the medical respiratory physiotherapists?

The physiotherapists often attend the medical handover on caterpillar ward, where potential needs for physiotherapy input are highlighted to the team. We work closely with doctors, nurses and other health professionals to ensure the best care for our patients on a daily basis.

Outlying patients can be referred to us by medical professionals via a bleep or telephone call to the physiotherapy department (between the hours of 08.30-16.30).

For patients who need urgent respiratory physiotherapy assessment and treatment out-of-hours, a 24 hour on-call service is available. If the urgent on-call criteria is reached, a senior doctor needs to contact the on-call physiotherapist who will assess the appropriateness of the referral and treat urgently where applicable.