Physiotherapist happy to help patients move on to better health

Judith Rea, a Physiotherapist in Primary Care and Older People's Services at the SWAH.

Judith Rea, a Physiotherapist in Primary Care and Older People’s Services at the SWAH.

CONTINUING our series focusing on healthcare heroes, we talk to another staff member working at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH).

This week, we talk to Judith Rea, a Physiotherapist in Primary Care and Older People’s Services at the SWAH.

Judith discusses the nature of her work, what it means to her, and how happy she is to help support people in their journey towards better health, especially working in her home area.


What motivated you to pursue a career at the SWAH?

The main motivation for pursuing my career at the SWAH is that Fermanagh is my home!

It’s where my family and friends are, and this is where I always envisaged myself working.

Could you share a significant challenge you’ve faced in your role and how you overcame it to provide quality healthcare services?

To date, the biggest challenge in my working career has been working through the Covid-19 pandemic. It made our role very challenging.

We had to develop a telephone assessment protocol, to initially update and create new patient information leaflets that we could send out to patients.

This also led us to embrace the virtual world of health care, in developing, recording and uploading educational videos on the Western Trust website so patients could access readily that information at home.

How do you believe your role contributes to the well-being and recovery of patients within our community?

Physiotherapists have a role in promoting healthy lifestyles. Providing advice and education to patients about their condition helps to improve their understanding of why we are advising the lifestyle changes, and home exercise programmes, hence improving their rehab potential and improving their outcomes with therapy.

Can you highlight a particular patient interaction or medical achievement that you are particularly proud of, and why?

Being involved in the development of the CCG [Clinical Communications Gateway] method of referral for GPs, and triaging the incoming referrals.

This has made referring to pelvic physiotherapy more streamlined across the Western Trust.

How do you ensure the delivery of compassionate and effective care in your specific healthcare discipline?

Pelvic Health physiotherapy is a very sensitive area, and as a mum I can empathise with a lot of our patient population that have recently delivered babies.

I understand that it takes a lot of courage to take the first step in reaching out for help, and therefore taking the time to listen is important.

To ensure effectiveness, there is always ongoing Continuing Professional Development, attending specific courses and conferences and keeping up to date with best evidence and research.

What aspect of your work do you find most rewarding, and how does it resonate with your personal values and mission?

Every day is different. You meet lots of different people, and it is great to see good results – the rewards come from seeing people gain improvements in their quality of life.

How do you manage the demands of your job, and what strategies do you employ to ensure exceptional healthcare service delivery?

Good time management is crucial, continuously working to reduce waiting lists to ensure patients are seen in a more timely fashion.

Have there been any mentors or colleagues who have significantly influenced your practice, and in what way?

I can’t name one specific mentor or colleague; we work as a team, Trust-wide, and meet virtually on a weekly basis to share ideas, training and discuss complex cases, to help improve patient experience.

What are your aspirations for the future, and how do you envision the evolution of your role within the SWAH?

The next big thing for us working in healthcare is the roll-out of Encompass within the next couple of years.

This is a Health and Social care Northern Ireland integrated electronic care record – one record for one patient.

It will allow healthcare staff to see the right information at the right time, and make numerous paper forms and electronic systems redundant.

How do you believe your efforts contribute to the overall excellence and advancement of healthcare services in our local community?

Good compliance with pelvic physiotherapy will often see good outcomes for patients, therefore preventing the need for surgery or other invasive procedures.


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