By Peter Haslam
Headley Court has a dedicated prosthetic service – prosthetists work with the military technicians in the remedial squadron workshops to produce the prosthetic limbs for amputees. They will supply and modify them in the shortest time possible. Ongoing fine-tuning and adjustments to achieve the best fit can take longer and can be carried out on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.
DMRC’s mission is “to deliver consultant-led rehabilitation services to support planned and contingent operations in order to maximise the moral and physical components of fighting power.”
The intent is to provide the highest quality group and individual rehabilitation for all patients, by maximising functional capability and quality of life whether returning to military service or transitioning to civilian life. This is achieved through the provision of a comprehensive military residential programme as well as an outpatient service. The rehabilitation teams are all multidisciplinary and work with the patient (and their family in some cases) to achieve their full potential.
The staff at DMRC are drawn from the military and civilian healthcare sector and can draw upon: consultants in rheumatology and rehabilitation; consultants in sports and exercise medicine; a consultant psychiatrist; physiotherapists; occupational therapists; nursing staff (including pain specialists); psychologists; speech and language therapists; podiatrists; exercise rehabilitation instructors; cognitive rehabilitation therapists; social workers, community psychiatric nurses; dieticians; horticultural therapists and a team of support staff.
FORCE GENERATION – LOWER LIMBS AND SPINE SPECIALIST
The force generation rehabilitation teams treat patients suffering from chronic and complex musculoskeletal disabilities including those affecting the spine, lower and upper limbs but also conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Each patient group undertakes a varied daily programme of up to five hours of exercise-based activity which involves class therapy, hydrotherapy, postural re-education and walking or running gait analysis, recreational therapy and individually tailored treatment programmes. The patients exercise therapy regimes are designed, implemented and supervised by the Service exercise rehabilitation instructors (ERIs).
ERIs are qualified physical training instructors from all three branches of the Armed Forces, who have completed further training at the Joint Services School of Remedial Instructors (JSSRI) which is co-located at Headley Court.
The neurological rehabilitation team (NRT) provide comprehensive assessment, rehabilitation and management for a range of conditions including brain injury, strokes and neurological illness and injury.
The Peter Long Unit provides 20 ward beds for patients with neurological conditions and 12 beds for complex trauma. The team provides an intensive programme of rehabilitation including vocational assessment, which is delivered by a specialised and experienced multidisciplinary team.
The minor traumatic brain injury (MTBI) team are embedded within the NRT and provide treatment and advice to patients suffering persistent symptoms following a concussion. The structured programme of therapy addresses physical, cognitive, communication, psychosocial, vocational and daily life issues.
Patients admitted to the complex trauma group have a variety of multiple and complex injuries including amputation, spinal injury and other conditions which require a more individualised programme of rehabilitation. Each patient receives a rehabilitation package tailored to their specific requirements. On admission, assessments are carried out by the specialised multidisciplinary team.
Headley Court also has a dedicated prosthetic service. Prosthetists work with the military technicians in the remedial squadron workshops (RSW) to produce the prosthetic limbs for amputees. They will supply and modify them in the shortest time possible. Ongoing fine-tuning and adjustments to achieve the best fit can take longer and can be carried out on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.
DMRC’s research department based in the high-technology gait analysis laboratory is able to compile data and conduct research programmes looking at injury causation and management. It collaborates with a number of renowned UK universities on numerous research projects and is currently leading on the ADVANCE Study – a 20-year prospective study looking at a number of health and social outcomes in a cohort of 600 seriously injured battle casualties.
Peter Haslam is Senior Information Officer at Headley Court DMRC, Epsom, Surrey KT18 6JW