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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 18

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OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY DEPARTMENT NEWS ROSEMARIE DRAVNIEKS, MSWA OT MANAGER Curtin University Award The MSWA Occupational Therapy department was pleased to receive an award on Tuesday, 13 February at the Curtin University prize giving ceremony. The award, in the category of Speech and Social Work, was for organisational excellence in student supervision. It was a welcome recognition for our OT department staff, particularly the student supervisors who worked hard to give the OT students, both in the metro and in the South West area, a good learning experience. Sally Hunter, Curtin University Student Placement Coordinator, presenting award to Rosemarie Dravnieks, MSWA OT Manager and Jess Dinsdale, MSWA Senior OT . New Member Support for MS Fatigue Management Fatigue is the most common and disabling, yet invisible, symptom experienced by most people with MS and it affects all spheres of their lives. MSWA has recently sourced, and begun offering, the MS Energise App to assist with education for our Members in strategies for dealing with their fatigue. We are pleased to offer a subsidy for our Members to assist with the cost of the App which is available on the Apple App Store. Behaviour. Thoughts. Emotions. Body. Environment. The MS Energise App can help you manage your fatigue better. It consists of seven modules, each with a section in which you will learn some new information, a section in which you will interact with this new knowledge, and a section in which you will apply what you have learnt. MS Energise provides a comprehensive coverage of multiple factors that contribute to MS-related fatigue. In MS Energise, we discuss the differences between fatigue and just being tired, and look at the way that behaviour, thoughts, emotions, bodily factors, and the environment around us can all contribute to fatigue. Finally, when you’re making effective use of the many self-management techniques in MS Energise, we look at how to maintain these skills into the future. As you work through the content, each module contains information to learn, ways to interact with these ideas, and tools to apply them in your day-to-day life. The App costs to download the full program, and MSWA is covering this cost for our Members. The program uses a clinically proven approach to help people with MS to maximise their energy. It is currently not available in Android form. Please contact the Occupational Therapy department on 9365 4804 if you would like more information. We are also keen to have feedback on the App and how it has helped those who have used it. OT Department staffing changes We have sadly said goodbye to a couple of colleagues who have been with MSWA for a few years, Russell Hulme, who has gone to pursue medical studies, and Taneeka Bettenay who has moved to NSW. However, we have also been fortunate to welcome several new staff to the OT team; both in the metropolitan area and in the South West. Some are former OT students of ours who have now graduated as OTs and some are experienced therapists joining us from other organisations. Donation Funded Equipment Purchases Because of the very successful and ongoing fundraising efforts of our MSWA events and fundraising staff, such as the Ocean Ride and Step Up 2017, we have been able to purchase several pieces of equipment for our loan pool, to benefit both MSWA Members and people with other neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease. These have included several different hoists with associated slings, ramps and other smaller equipment. We have also recently purchased a MOTOmed bike for people with Parkinson’s and a wheelchair for stroke survivors, which was gifted to Osborne Park Hospital. This is in addition to equipment purchased and handed over to SCGH and Fiona Stanley Hospitals. The hospitals are always very grateful for these donations of equipment that benefit many and are made possible through allocations by generous participants at our events. 20 | MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2018

RESILIENCE – THE HEALTHY BRAIN MICHAELA MUNDY, MSWA COUNSELLOR & CERTIFIED NEUROPSYCHOTHERAPY PRACTITIONER As a Neuropsychotherapy Practitioner I work from a brainbased, holistic and integrated approach. We acknowledge that the brain has influence over our entire body and is essential for us to function in our everyday life. When the brain gets what it needs, it’s ready to repair, maintain and even change (re-wire). Not only does this improve our wellness but also the brain’s capacity to create new pathways (neurogenesis) and rewire (neuroplasticity). These actions enhance our resilience by enabling change and allowing us to cope with life’s many adversities. So, what do we need to maximise our brain wellness and enhance our resilience? Think of our resilience as a colosseum – the pillars that hold up the roof are sleep, nutrition, exercise and social connectedness. These pillars are essential for our brain health and therefore our capacity to be resilient to everything that life throws at us. Each pillar is as important as the other and each needs to be well maintained. If not cared for, these pillars can crack, leaving a fragile and unstable structure. Imagine a stressful life event like a storm. The pillars struggle and the roof becomes unstable. It might crack or even fall to the ground, but if the pillars are maintained and cared for, the roof has a stable foundation that supports it when the storm hits. If we take care of our pillars, we enhance our capacity to cope and even thrive during the most challenging times. The good news is that we can influence this. There are small things we can do which have a significant influence on our brain health and increase our capacity to bounce back from adversity and to thrive rather than survive. The challenge is motivating ourselves to do it. There are not always immediate rewards and in fact it can often feel uncomfortable and like hard work. A desire to develop healthy habits around sleep, nutrition, exercise and social connectedness is not new to us, but the impact it has on the physical wellness of our brain and our resilience has been underestimated. Sleep It is generally agreed upon that sleep is one of the vital ingredients for physical and mental wellness. REM (rapid eye movement, also known as dream sleep) is important for the connection and communication between our Smart (complex thinking) brain and our Impulsive (primitive) brain. During Non-REM (deep slow wave) sleep a chemical is released in our brain (BDNF) that is necessary for our brain to rewire and regenerate, a process that is vital for our capacity for wellness and resilience. Good sleep hygiene is essential. Exercise We have always been told exercise is good for our heart, but the benefits of regular activity/exercise are just as important for our brain wellness. We are not talking about marathons or endorphins. Manageable aerobic exercise has also been shown to release chemicals that reduce cortisol (stress hormone) and other chemicals (BDNF, serotonin and dopamine) which improve mood without side effects. Exercise has also been shown to improve learning and memory. Nutrition We often think of nutrition in relation to weight loss or management of a medical condition, however, there is increasing research that shows healthy eating patterns significantly enhance our brain’s plasticity and wellness. Social connectedness Just as we have a basic need for food and shelter, we also have the need to belong and form relationships. When we experience these interactions, it has a positive physical action on our brain, from a simple ‘hello’ with the shop assistant to going out with a group of friends. There may be times when our resilience is challenged to the extent that we feel overwhelmed and do not know where to begin. At MSWA, our counsellors and other MSWA team members can support and help you with this. This support can be face-to-face, via email, telephone or via a video conferencing platform for those who find it difficult to access one of our MSWA centres. If you would like to know more, please contact Lisa Papas on 9365 4811. References Arden, J. B., & Linford, L. (2009). Brain-based therapy with adults: evidence-based treatment for everyday practice. New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Rousouw, P, (2014). Neuropsychotherapy. Mediros. MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2018 | 21