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Neuro-Rehabilitation Camp in Mauritius

From the 2nd to the 10th of November this year, a team of specialists in the rehabilitation of those with neurological conditions will travel to Mauritius on a mission to establish what is happening on the ground to help the long term recovery of patients.

This team includes Prof Anba Soopramanien, a consultant in spinal injuries and rehabilitation medicine with experience working with international bodies; the Administrative Co-ordinator, Mrs Kamachee Soopramanien; Mrs Pakyam Pillay, a Nurse Manager at Imperial College Hospital, London, with experience in rehabilitation; Miss Sunanda Padaruth, a Nursing Sister also of Imperial College, London; Mrs Jeanine Moeri-Brandalise, a Senior Occupational Therapist specialising in community rehabilitation; Mrs Shiva Jamwal, the Lead Occupational Therapist at the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, Aylesbury, specialising in rehabilitation in the acute phase; and finally an unconfirmed physiotherapist.

Our aim is to draw some solid conclusions about what are the greatest challenges facing patients in their rehabilitation from acute conditions and about what more the health service, and in particular hospitals, can do to help patients face these challenges. Through our conversations with healthcare specialists and patients, we will put together a package of recommendations for the foundation of a Neuro-Rehabilitation unit in Mauritius. This will be the first step on the road to dramatically improving the outlook of patients in Mauritius who are suffering horribly from debilitating neurological disorders.

A key aspect will be our attempts to get first-hand accounts of what is being done for these patients

A key aspect of this trip will be our attempts to get first-hand accounts of what is being done for these patients from specialists in neuro-rehabilitation. We want to know what is being required of them and how they are being equipped to deliver the patient outcomes expected. We also want to know how they are struggling and what they would love to be able to do better. These people are best placed to see how care is being delivered and all of the shortcomings that that entails, so we need their input to establish what potential solutions could realistically be implemented effectively.

As such, the first day of the mission will be spent in consultation with Rehabilitation Assistants, Specialist Doctors and Nurses, Therapists, and finally the local Doctors, Nurses, and Physiotherapists who are delivering care to patients in their homes and communities. It will be interesting to see how the different phases of care link up and to what extent problems recur throughout the system. Another focus is going to be patient feedback. Every patient’s experience of disability and how this is treated is unique, but there are bound to be certain problems that a wide variety of patients can identify with in terms of the quality and effectiveness of the rehabilitation open to them.

On day two of the trip, we will be travelling to the homes and community centres of those suffering from neurological conditions to find out how they are coping with living away from hospital with their disability. We will be able to see for ourselves the things that are making life most difficult for these people so that we can develop a better understanding of what must be improved both in terms of patient rehabilitation and of the infrastructure and technology available to sufferers.

The main body of the mission

The main body of the mission however will be spent with patients still undergoing treatment in hospital, and days three to seven will see us assess six patients a day for about one and a half hours each, totalling thirty patients by the end of the trip. It is important that we gain a clear understanding of what is being done to prepare the patients for life outside of hospital. We will need to assess the physical and psychological condition of the patients in the hospitals and view this alongside the treatment options that are open to them the better to understand what more can be done to treat their conditions.

We will also need to assess the extent to which they can function independently and to make a judgement from this about the amount and quality of physio, speech and occupational therapy that is available to patients. If we are to make useful recommendations to the health authorities in Mauritius on the back of this expedition, it is vital that we gain an accurate understanding of the current plight of patients with neurological disorders in that country and especially of what needs to be done to improve the transition from in-hospital rehabilitation to out-of-hospital rehabilitation.

We are confident that those five days of in-depth patient examinations will enable us to achieve this. In addition to the fact-finding aspects of our mission, we will also be spending time in the hospital teaching the specialists working there. During the patient examinations we will be exchanging views on patient care with their treatment teams and passing on our own knowledge and experience to them.

We will also have a couple of hours to deliver a medical-focused lecture and a therapy-focused lecture to medical staff and we intend to leave behind teaching materials compiled by ourselves and Affinity Training. It is our hope that this will keep momentum going following our visit and will help to lay the groundwork for future improvements in the care of patients with neurological disorders in Mauritius.

This trip is only one step in an effort to revolutionise neuro-rehabilitation in Mauritius, but it will be an important one. Change is possible, and this mission will ensure that we know where that change should come next.

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