Commonwealth Reflection #1:
So yesterday saw my first shift in the Commonwealth Games Polyclinic as a physiotherapist. Working alongside multiple professions under one roof is the idealist approach to rehabilitation and it works rather well.
Its my first experience at a multi-sport event, such as the Commonwealth Games, and yesterday was interesting. The polyclinic runs as an MSK service for athletes, volunteers and games family members.
Yesterday, I saw approximately 10 athletes from a variety of sports including discuss, shot put, weightlifting, swimming, and table tennis. The variety of conditions presented included patella tendonitis, ulnar nerve irritation, patella femoral medial facet osteochondral defect, and congenital hip dysplasia.
All athletes receive a full and thorough assessment from one of the qualified therapists in the poly clinic MSK service. As part of the assessment we have to take a subjective history. One of the learning points that I reflected on from yesterday was communication. The commonwealth games consisting of multiple nations from the commonwealth meant some athletes had limited understanding of the English language which meant they often came with a team member or staff member to aid communication. Naturally, this is time-consuming but can be effective as long ass questioning is succinct and appropriate. A further point around communicating through an interpreter is consent. It’s important that the athlete give consent for the other person to translate.
The polyclinic environment is vibrant and buzzing with athletes seeking professional advice to optimise their performance in readiness for their upcoming competition. The closeness of other professions within this setting means athletes, volunteers and family members can get medical services quickly. As a physiotherapist that has worked in the NHS and private sector, it’s often the case that these referrals can take some time to come to light. However, yesterday saw how effective a polyclinic environment can prove to be, and this was my first experience of the immediateness of a polyclinic environment. I was able to refer a patient to see a SEM doctor for a hip review within a few hours – usually it would be quicker, but due to it being end of the day, an appointment was booked for the next morning.
A further example of the polyclinic environment functioning effectively was demonstrated when an athlete arrived at 3pm to see the SEM doctor with a suspected meniscus tear, saw myself for some immediate conservative management at 3:30pm, booked a MRI 6pm and results returned by 7pm. The speed of action from the polyclinic team meant that athlete was able to have diagnosis and intervention within a few hours and discharged back to the team medial staff for ongoing rehabilitation.
- The immediate impact of the polyclinic environment has driven me to understand the further need for improved seed of onward referral in acute conditions. this not only eases the athletes and medical team state of mind but also provides the athlete with the best opportunity for recovery effectively.
- Communication in a clear and concise manner is important when treating international athletes. even a small mount of foreign language knowledge from the therapist can aid an assessment and information gathering. Use of posters and body charts or visual aids can aid non-verbal communication. Consent should always be gained from the athlete if translators are present, whether it’s a team member or medial team member.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy the blog, watch this blog for more Commonwealth games posts