2021 brings fresh support to our decade-long physiotherapy service

2021 brings fresh support to our decade-long physiotherapy service

Friends of ANCHOR has marked a decade of supporting life-changing physiotherapy, by furthering its financial investment.

For 10 years, the charity has funded weekly physiotherapy sessions dedicated specifically to haemophilia patients.

Now we have pledged a further £15,745 a year, to help fund another physiotherapist, in turn boosting the existing physiotherapy services for cancer and haematology patients within the ANCHOR inpatient wards at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Highly specialist physiotherapist Wendy Bloom said: “Physiotherapy can benefit many oncology patients and people living with a blood disorder. The individualised exercise programmes we offer can transform the quality of life for this group of patients – we can see people go from having anxiety over the smallest activity, to successfully completing marathons – something that simply wouldn’t be possible without treatment, combined with specialist physiotherapy.

“This additional funding from Friends of ANCHOR to bring another member into our team, will go a long way to encourage more efficient assessments, appropriate interventions and timely discharge of patients.”

Friends of ANCHOR’s financial contribution boosted the funding available from NHS Grampian, allowing for a full-time position to be recruited as part of the rotation scheme at the city’s hospital. The role was fulfilled at the start of the year, with physiotherapist Rachel Donald joining the team in January.

While this latest round of funding marks a new investment for Friends of ANCHOR, we're also celebrating funding a decade of physiotherapy for patients living with the blood disorder haemophilia, which is characterised by spontaneous episodes of painful bleeding into muscles and joints.

For the past 10 years, Wendy and her colleague, Highly Specialist Physiotherapist Emma Kumar, have dedicated three hours every week to delivering this service, which has been funded by Friends of ANCHOR.

When used in combination with infusions that encourage the blood to clot normally, regular physical exercise is an important aspect of the modern management of haemophilia. Physiotherapy has been shown to significantly improve the quality of life for people living with the blood disorder, allowing them to fully participate in social and employment opportunities.

Professor Henry Watson, charity trustee and consultant haematologist at ARI, said: “The physiotherapy service that we can provide through Friends of ANCHOR’s support is over and above standard provision and brings a great deal of benefit to our patients. It is great to be celebrating 10 years of funding this service by increasing our commitment to provide patients with a better quality of life.”

Specialist physiotherapist, Emma Kumar added: “We have a lot to celebrate having delivered this service for 10 years. Thanks to Friends of ANCHOR’s additional funding boost, we’ve been able to bring a new member on board to the wider physiotherapy service, which will only improve the care and treatment patients receive.”

With this new funding stream, Friends of ANCHOR’s total yearly commitment to the physiotherapy service for ANCHOR patients comes in at almost £20,000 a year. The newly-funded post is now part of the rotation scheme at ARI, meaning the post-holder provides support to ANCHOR patients and to patients in other areas within the city or shire, alongside specialist teams in other departments such as cardiothoracic and geriatric medicine.

Allan Leslie knows the difference haemophilia support has on everyday life

As an Anchor Unit patient who has experienced first-hand the benefits of the physiotherapy service offered through the haematology department, Allan Leslie knows the difference this support has on everyday life. Having grown up alongside two uncles that suffered from the life-changing and sometimes debilitating condition, the now 53-year-old had a glimpse into his own future from a young age.

But, with the help of staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary he has been able to enjoy the sports and activities he loves with careful management of his body – even taking on a marathon.

He said: “The assistance I have received from the physiotherapists at NHS Grampian has helped me no end. I have been able to take on marathons, cycle and play touch rugby on occasion – all of which would have been harder without their help.”

Hoping to be fit and ready for the event next year, the NHS worker has also managed to raise £3,000 in the name of Home-Start Aberdeen while preparing to take on the London Marathon.

He added: “Back in my 20’s, if I ever had an issue with my Haemophilia, it was always a case of rest, rest and more rest. But now we can wait for the bleed to stop and then be more active.

“Before you would rest to a point where you would lose a lot of muscle. Now the treatment plan now is so much more beneficial.

“The physiotherapy helps shorten your recovery time so much if you have an issue.”