Travelling Through Trauma – Sept 4th, Aberdeen
Rachel Cromack, Case Manager & Occupational Therapist at CMS attended SHIF’s Aberdeen event, along with our Director Lynn Hodge who is a member of the SHIF Committee and our Rehab Assistant Gemma Scullion who is the administrator for SHIF. Here Rachel shares her highlights from the Aberdeen Open Forum.
As part of continued professional development, we are always delighted to attend SHIF conferences as the mix of presentations and speakers are always interesting and informative. This event was focusing on the journey from the roadside, starting with a presentation from Consultant Martin Esposito, who focused on the lifesaving work that is carried out by highly skilled paramedics when they arrive at the scene of a major trauma, and how having the support of a major trauma centre such as Aberdeen Royal Infirmary can enhance the care that a patient gets from the outset and improves the outcomes from those with critical and life changing injuries.
Dr Louise Buchan and Dr Maggie White, of the Department of Clinical Neuropsychology then spoke about the importance of psychology for the trauma patient, and how they work with patients and their families from the acute phase, onto specialist rehabilitation then forward into the community. They both also coped admirably with an unscheduled break when the fire alarm went off and the entire venue was evacuated!
Jacqueline Lange of the Welfare Rights team at Digby Brown Solicitors gave an update on the current benefits system and what a may be available for a patient. After an injury may be the first time that a patient and their family have to navigate the benefits system and it can be a complicated and stressful time, so having the information from Jacqueline was so beneficial for all.
Lunch was a great opportunity to network with the other attendees and peruse the stands before returning to the afternoon’s proceedings.
The afternoon session began with Lynn Hodge, Director with Case Management Services Ltd, and Stuart Barton, Partner with Digby Brown Solicitors advising us on the development of the Complex Injury Network Scotland (CINS), an organisation set up by CMS, Digby Brown and Anne Cossar & Associates. Our aim in establishing the CINS is to build a platform which brings together professionals from all sectors for networking, information sharing, education and training, and to collaborate in promoting best practice to bring about positive change in the field of complex injury.
Next came a very interesting and informative talk from Ian Crombie, Convenor of the BIG Group who shared about the excellent work that the BIG Group do to support patients in helping them reconnect with society after their injury. They do this in a variety of ways, including hosting events, running support groups and educational talks. Ian also talked about the importance of funding and donations. The Big Group rely on support and fundraising by the public to provide the vital service that they do. Ian told us about John MacDonald, a brain injury survivor who uses a wheelchair. John wanted to raise funds for the BIG Group, so set himself a challenge of scaling the climbing wall at Transitions Extreme in Aberdeen. This itself is no mean feat, however, for John there was the added hurdle of the fact that he is a wheelchair user. Showing steely determination and immense willpower, John completed his challenge and to date has raised over £2000. We were able to watch a news reports of his story, and many in the audience were moved to tears. John was attending the event and received a well-deserved round of applause.
After Ian came Chris Smith, a brain injury survivor who gave a very emotive presentation about his journey through brain injury and how the support he got both from the NHS and the BIG Group, as well as family and friends, made a significant difference to his life. Hearing the lived experience from clients is always a reminder of why we do what we do.
The day was brought to a close by Kim Taylor, a case manager with JSP. She spoke about the varied role of the support worker, the importance of ABI training for specialist support workers, and how having a knowledgeable, highly skilled team can make a huge difference to the client being supported. Having support workers who are confident in their own abilities, able to problem solve and think creatively to find solutions to issues, can have a huge positive effect on a client’s rehabilitation, well-being and quality of life.
An excellent event thoroughly enjoyed by all and we are very much looking forward to attending SHIF’s upcoming 5th December event in Glasgow.