Stepping stones to independence

QEF Independent Living Services at Dorincourt is a stepping stone towards independence for its residents, who tend to have severe congenital disabilities and almost all are wheelchair users.

The highly qualifi ed team at Dorincourt includes physiotherapists who are not just on hand to help with pain or symptoms related to the residents’ disabilities, but are also a big part of helping them do things they never thought possible.

Dr Sophia Nousi explains: “Our big challenge here is to increase people’s independence. Our residents have complex conditions that can cause pain and these conditions don’t always fit into easily describable categories.

“But - the residents here can do things you never imagined. They’re very determined, but they need challenging too. This requires trust and the right approach. We have a person centred holistic approach which doesn’t just take into account physical issues, but everyone’s personality too.”

“To build up trust we have to be honest about the resident’s potential, but when they trust you, you can challenge them. It’s amazing how keen the residents are to try things.

Seeing potential
“One resident had never before tried to stand up and actually walk, but I could see his potential, with the right equipment and support. He couldn’t bend his knees, and his muscles had hypertonicity, but with a special harness supporting him to manage how much weight was on his legs, he was able to take a step. He got tired very quickly, but was determined to keep trying.

“We have a great team here and good teamwork. It’s a very demanding job, and we always need to be on top of everything. For most people, the equipment used is their independence, so we have to make sure that it’s safe and available.

“Residents are always around and wanting to chat about the equipment and try things. The Therabikes are particularly popular. They want to know everything that’s going on with us too and we’re always interacting. It shows there’s a good and trusting relationship.

“Our residents have physio sessions every week, and our facilities are good, but for a growing number of residents we need to have more capacity. We help when residents are in pain or there’s an emergency situation, but this sometimes means we have to postpone regular sessions. With more funds and more equipment we can increase and improve what we do.”

To learn more about Independent Living Services please click here.