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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Summer 2019

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PHYSIOTHERAPY

PHYSIOTHERAPY PHYSIOTHERAPY KEY CONTRIBUTOR TO HEALTH AND WELLBEING Physiotherapy plays a key role in the health and wellbeing of people with a neurological condition and importantly, can help keep people in the comfort of their own homes for longer. Physiotherapist James Beckett has been working at MSWA’s Rockingham Services Centre for one year and sees the benefits of his work every day. “People with neurological conditions can have issues with reduced mobility which can interfere with daily activities such as work, school, sports and even getting around the house and neighbourhood. This can lead to other problems such as deconditioning, fatigue and social isolation,” James said. “Physiotherapy has a wide range of benefits including improving cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, balance and mobility, managing pain and fatigue, and helping to keep our Customers in the comfort of their own homes.” James says the benefits also go beyond physical health. “We’re not only helping to maximise our Customers ‘physical function, but we also provide emotional support, friendship and a space to enjoy the company of others with neurological conditions. “All these components are so important to the lives of people who are dealing with often complex and debilitating conditions.” After a decade of working in physiotherapy private practice, James decided it was time to make a change and help people with neurological conditions. “I looked back at how much I enjoyed doing my practical university component at MSWA’s Wilson Services Centre and how I loved coaching at a swimming club for people with disabilities. “MSWA gave me the perfect opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people; to see people on an ongoing basis, monitor their progress and create tailored programs to make their lives better and easier.” MSWA offers group physiotherapy sessions, one-to-one sessions, home visits, as well as ongoing assessments. “We provide less hands-on, more rehabilitation-based exercise that empowers people to take control of their health,” James said. Physiotherapist James Beckett with Tanya Murphy in a physiotherapy session. “We are always looking at new ways of doing things; new ways to treat and improve the service we provide our Customers. “Ultimately, we are here to ensure they get the support they need.” For more information on our physiotherapy services, please visit mswa.org.au/support-services 12

SOCIAL WELFARE MS AND THERMOREGULATION The body’s ability to regulate its core body temperature, even when the temperature of the environment changes, is called thermoregulation. Regulation of the body temperature is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Problems with thermoregulation may occur in 60 – 90% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This means they may experience inappropriate increases or decreases in body temperature and can be very sensitive to small changes in internal and external temperature. An increase in core temperature of people with MS causes reduced nerve conduction speed. Even small temperature elevations may exacerbate existing MS symptoms temporarily until the core temperature has reduced. Symptoms may include blurred vision, change in sensory symptoms, decreased strength and fatigue. PRACTICAL TIPS Be aware that increases in temperature may occur during or after exercise, hot showers, an infection or illness causing an increase in body temperature. Driving in a warm car without air conditioning, sitting quietly in a heated room during winter and even a bath can aggravate MS symptoms in those whose body is intolerant of heat. Strategies to minimise the impact of thermoregulation difficulties include: During exercise / Exercise in a cool environment – consider the time of day, temperature of the pool water (27 – 32 degrees Celsius), fan or air conditioning, home or gym / Exercise regularly for short periods and change the intensity of the exercise program / Maintain hydration by drinking cool water before, during and after exercise / Wear a cooling necktie, cooling vest and/or loose, light clothing / Cool down with a cool shower after exercise / Do not exercise if you are unwell Air conditioning / Assess your air conditioning needs before summer and update your home unit if required. Refrigerated air conditioning is the most effective / Check the air conditioning in your car before summer / Park car in the shade, allowing for the shift in the sun over time AIR CONDITIONING GRANTS MSWA can assist Members on low income with funding towards the purchase of an air conditioner in their home (through Lotterywest). There is also a Thermoregulatory Dysfunction Energy Subsidy Scheme available from the Department of Treasury and Finance. The impact of heat must be significant, and the applicant must hold a pensioner card, health care card or health care interim voucher. This subsidy contributes towards the costs associated with higher than normal power usage when running an air conditioner. NEED HELP? The Social Welfare team at MSWA can help you with information, forms, applications and obtaining funding grants for air conditioning and the Thermoregulatory Dysfunction Energy Subsidy Scheme. Please contact the Social Welfare team on 9365 4888 for more information. 13