they are not doctors or nurses, but they play just as important a role in making sure patients recover properly after a serious fracture or operation and help in the process to get back to independent living.
They are the dedicated teams of physiotherapists and occupational therapists who are based in Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital.
Covering the orthopaedic wards for trauma as well as elective surgery such as hip and knee replacements, the eight qualified physios and two technical instructors along with four occupational therapists and another two technical instructors are there to oversee the rehabilitation process and try to ensure those undergoing surgery remain as independent as possible.
Physiotherapists visit patients soon after surgery to help them with pain management and reducing swelling, regaining strength in muscles and issuing walking aids such as crutches, fitting knee braces and splints.
They will advise patients on the type of exercises needed to build up their muscles and discuss a programme to help them achieve their optimum recovery.
Occupational therapists work alongside their colleagues and their main role in ensuring patients are able to return home to live independently.
They work with them to ensure they can get themselves out of bed, dressed and able to perform the tasks they would normally do at home.
They can advise on aids such as hoists, bath rails, commodes and kitchen equipment such as trolleys to make life easier and make sure these are all in place and the patient fully able to use them before they are discharged from the wards.
Physiotherapists can see many different patients from youngsters falling off their bikes and requiring surgery for broken bones to older people suffering fractures from falls and everyone in between.
The majority of cases seen by occupational therapists tend to be more elderly people who need rehabilitation to get them back to an independent lifestyle or living at home with help from carers.
The two work together, alongside the ward nurses and consultants to ensure they are happy with the patient’s recovery process, their discharge date and what is lined up for them when they return home.