In 2012 Emily was resident in the old rehabilitation building, at the top of the hill on Morrison Road so the newly opened Royal Rehabilitation Unit based in Ryde is a palace in comparison.
We arrived at Royal Rehab (RR) for some outpatient swimming sessions. Emily adores the warm water, just the feeling of freedom from her chair, the ability to glide weightlessly and relax. Relax…. that is until the therapist approaches her with the laminated sheet of exercises!
The RR Outpatients Department state ‘Aquatic physiotherapy can facilitate strength, range of movements and function through the therapeutic effects of warm water. The sessions are conducted by a physiotherapist to assist, instruct and demonstrate the exercises.” The program is designed to enable continuation of the exercises independently at our local pool.
Emily is so enthusiastic about hydro-therapy and the benefits of water based exercise that she was one of the first outpatients to join the swimming program offered from the new Ryde facility. We have been to the hydrotherapy pool at The Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre which is manageable. It is difficult to gauge a time when the hydrotherapy pool is open to the public and quiet. Children are delightful but splash enthusiastically, not idea for Emily’s gentle glide with the aim of weightless relaxation. No matter we persevere!
Emily and I have found that it is only with practice we really finely tune our activities. To have the opportunity to practice all aspects of swimming from; dressing and undressing, using differing changing room facilities, SPC management and identifying practical goals for Emily in the water is enormously beneficial. We always warm up afterwards with a coffee, no practice needed there! As we become quicker and more exacting we can incorporate swimming into our day without it taking over the whole day.
There are admission criteria for this outpatient program;
- Live within the Northern Sydney Area Health Service district
- Aged between 16-75 years
- Referral and medical clearance from GP to participate in aquatic physiotherapy.
I hope that RR can open the pool to SCI outpatients at weekends as such a wonderful resource. Our only real issue is leaving the new RR building as we always bump into so many great friends and stay to chat!
Emily snorkeling on The Great Barrier Reef
P.S. Get your swimsuits ready as more beaches are providing easy access to the sea for wheelchair users. Additional information about beach chairs for wheelchair users is posted in my TRAVEL / Australia tab above.