35th Guttmann Conference Emily’s Blog

The 35th Guttmann Conference took place in Sheffield earlier this month. Thanks to corporate sponsorship from Slater and Gordon Emily Whicher, SMSR’S Research therapist was able to attend. Here she shares a therapist’s view of Guttman…

I was delighted to be able to attend this year’s conference together with my colleagues from the NSIC and listen to Dr Julian Taylor, SMSR’s Research Director, present our latest research on upper limb mobility SEM Glove study.

The first day started with a tour of the Princess Royal Spinal Cord Injuries Centre. It was interesting to see how the unit was set up, in particular observing the sports hall that is in the middle of the unit with a viewing gallery. The afternoon was spent attending a therapy meeting involving physiotherapist and occupational therapists from all spinal units. It was great to catch up with some old colleagues. We discussed a range of issues including wheelchair provision, goal planning and upper limb rehabilitation techniques. The first day ended on a high with a gala dinner to celebrate NHS 70th birthday – something I am proud to be part of in my daily work!

My second day started with a fascinating lecture from the scientist Elizabeth Bradbury who is researching the regeneration of the spinal cord following injury. Working with rats she uses Chondroitinase to enable new growth and plasticity and, having the ability to turn this enzyme on and off, showed the potential of how this may be a treatment in the future. She also spoke about the need for targeted specific rehabilitation to enhance recovery.

Other presentations looked at the complexity of patients admitted to spinal units and how this could be managed, different surgical techniques, psychological support and pressure sores in the community.

On reflection I learnt a lot, it was great to see how different units are progressing and how there are many common themes. In terms of research it was exciting to see new ideas and techniques and clinicians evaluating the impact on patients.

I feel motivated and excited about the important impact clinicians can have on research. I look forward to continuing with the projects I am working on, discussing and developing new ideas and the challenge of presenting or displaying a poster next year.

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35th Guttman Conference..the therapists view