Improved aquatic therapy facilities open for patients at Amersham Hospital
Our physiotherapy team is extremely proud and excited to be able to welcome patients to the much-improved hydrotherapy pool at Amersham Hospital.
Trust Non-Executive Director, Tom Roche, who attended a ceremony on Friday 18 February to officially re-open the pool, said: “This project has been driven by the passion of a group of physiotherapists who have championed the benefits of hydrotherapy for their patients and who have worked with our estates teams and the teams from our partner Vinci to develop a state of the art facility the Trust can be very proud of.”
The improved pool opens at a time when hydrotherapy is being promoted nationally for being incredibly important in supporting a variety of patient groups: for example, for post-surgical recovery, for pain management, for patients with rheumatism, for the rehabilitation of neurological patients and also to enable certain patients to avoid the need for surgery procedures altogether. As such, hydrotherapy (or aquatic therapy) is considered a key element in the range of strategies that will help to reduce waiting lists in the wake of the pandemic.
As MSK and aquatic therapy lead physiotherapist at Amersham Hospital, Kirsty Campbell notes: “During the COVID-19 pandemic many hydrotherapy facilities in the UK had to close and many have not been able to reopen. It is therefore fantastic that we are to welcome patients once again and, on top of that, are able to treat them in fabulous new facilities that can support an even greater range of therapies.”
With the improved facilities the team will be able to work with small groups of patients, instead of being limited to holding one on one sessions as the previous pool was so small. The bigger pool also enables the physiotherapists to offer an increased variety of aquatic therapy techniques. As well as increasing the size of the pool, improvements have been made to provide ease of access with improved safety measures including level access and non-slip surfaces. A new ceiling track hoist with chair and stretcher allows ease of access to all areas of the pool area and minimises the amount of manual handling required by staff. In addition, the original high ceiling over the pool has been lowered which allows better air temperature regulation and improves energy efficiency.
As a result of the upgraded facilities the hydrotherapy team at Amersham is looking forward to being trained in Ai Chi – an aquatic therapy technique with evidenced improvements in balance, pain, flexibility, mood, memory and function.
Charlotte Moss, Head of Physiotherapy and Deputy Head of Allied Health Professionals for the Trust said: “There are a number of people who have worked very hard to support us in making sure we were able to upgrade and reopen such great facilities: Our Trust Chief Executive Officer, Neil Macdonald and previous Trust Chair, Hattie Llewelyn-Davies, who both championed the project at Board level, our finance department, Rochelle Gee in property services who liaised with the Vinci teams who upgraded the facilities for us. Successful collaboration between all parties has allowed us to have this superb, much improved resource at Amersham Hospital to support, facilitate and speed up recovery for our patients in Buckinghamshire.”
Pictured above standing above the pool from left to right: Trust Non Executive Director, Tom Roche; Aquatic Therapy Lead Physiotherapist at Amersham Hospital, Kirsty Campbell and Head of Physiotherapy and Deputy Head of Allied Health Professionals, Charlotte Moss.
- Aquatic therapy has historically been undervalued, due to the misconception it is expensive and inefficient. This has sadly resulted in disinvestment and reduced availability to patients.
- COVID-19 has escalated this with temporary pool closures – with up to 25% remaining unopened now.
- There is a national drive underway to promote the benefits of hydrotherapy. Key organisations (for example NASS, Versus Arthritis) are raising awareness of the benefits of aquatic therapy/hydrotherapy and a national manifesto for hydrotherapy has been produced with the support of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP).
- The increased waiting times for procedures and operations following the COVID-19 pandemic makes the requirement for patients to have access to hydrotherapy pools – pre and post operatively – even more important.
- Aquatic therapy is listed within the sponyloarthritis and OA NICE guidelines and certain patients may be successfully managed with aquatic therapy and actually prevent or postpone the need for surgery.