Hi Stacey! Tell us more about you and your role…
I work in Orthotics Department. Our specialty focuses on the design and application of orthoses (braces), and includes specialist footwear, spinal braces, and helmets, to name a few. We predominantly provide support to those who are recovering from major trauma injuries. Around 80% of our work is related to trauma recovery, and we also support sudden-onset conditions.
I had an interesting journey to becoming an Orthotist, I actually studied media makeup, then dental technology, worked for a little while in A&E, and then considered lots of Allied Health Professional (AHP) roles before deciding on Prosthetics and Orthotics. I did a three-year degree to qualify and chose to specialise in Orthotics.
Can you describe the patient's journey to Orthotics after suffering a major trauma injury?
Trauma patients are admitted to A&E and they are stabilised and sent for the relevant scans required to identify the level of injury attained. Their consultant will then refer them to Orthotics when needed. We see patients pre- and post-surgery and work alongside other AHP’s such as Physiotherapists, and Occupational Therapists to support them with the rehab journey, aiming to get them ready for a safe discharge.
We see patients as quickly as possible once a clinical decision has been made, this can be the same day or the following day after admission unless surgical intervention is required. At times we will see patients whilst they are still in A&E to provide a quick and efficient service so that we can be the first point of contact with the patient in regard to their rehabilitation journey.
What does a typical week look like for you?
There are eight Orthotists across the NCA, and in a typical week, we fluctuate between running outpatient clinics five days a week, alongside our ‘acute days’, where one clinician is available all day to see trauma patients. The majority of these patients have spinal fractures or lower limb trauma.
We normally work alone, but when a patient has increased complex medical needs we buddy up with colleagues to provide a safe and higher level of care where needed.
NorthCare Charity is raising £1.1 million to fund the RAPTOR Theatre, which will be used to treat the most seriously injured multi-trauma patients. The first of its kind in the UK, this groundbreaking theatre will allow staff to perform scans, X-rays, and surgical procedures in one place, saving precious time and reducing risk by ensuring patients don’t need to be moved to different locations to be cared for.
Can you tell us how the RAPTOR will impact your work?
If patients have been treated in the RAPTOR Theatre, it’s likely we would see them afterwards if they need us. We can provide them with multiple orthotic devices to support recovery from their multi-trauma injuries, and this can be done in one consultation because RAPTOR patients will have received surgery for multiple injuries and have access to specialist clinical teams all at one time, which allows us to be more efficient, and should provide relief for patients much faster.
Any progress in treating major trauma is exciting so we’re looking forward to seeing the impact of the RAPTOR for ourselves!
What’s the best thing about your job?
Without a doubt, the best part is the variety of the work! We cover every ward in the hospital, and no two days are the same, you see so many patients with a range of needs you can support them with.
It’s so rewarding to see the impact we can make on people in such a short time, sometimes an orthotic device can provide relief instantly! Nothing makes me prouder than that.