Alex Penfold on Youth Mental Health Day 2023: Insights from a Mental Health Nurse and...
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Since qualifying as a Chartered Physiotherapist from the University of East Anglia in 2008, I have specialised in Amputee Rehabilitation, Prosthetics and Vascular Surgery. I currently work full time in the private sector as a clinical specialist amputee and prosthetic physiotherapist at the Dorset Orthopaedic London Clinic. My role involves assessing a wide variety of amputee patients, including paediatric patients, upper-limb amputees, poly-trauma patients and patients with multiple limb loss. I regularly undertake joint assessment and treatment sessions with prosthetists, provide individualised and intensive prosthetic rehabilitation for upper limb and lower limb amputees, oversee myoelectric rehabilitation and provide tailored phantom limb pain programmes for service users.
Dorset Orthopaedic Limited is twinned with the Relimb team at the Royal Free Hospital, providing osseointegration surgery to upper limb and lower limb amputees. Subsequently, I also have experience in the provision of specialist osseointegration rehabilitation; comprising of wound management, tailored loading programmes, manual therapy, acupuncture and graduated gait re-education. I also review patients pre-operatively to optimise their clinical status and determine the most appropriate level of amputation; liaising with multi-disciplinary team members and external services to ensure the short- and long-term needs of patients are fulfilled.
I am also responsible for a caseload of patients requiring orthotics (predominantly patients with peripheral nerve injuries, orthopaedic injuries or spinal injuries); working closely with our orthotist to optimise a patient’s outcomes by providing rehabilitation pre and post orthotic provision. I have a specialist interest in phantom limb pain and have a qualification in Graded Motor Imagery; a technique proven to reduce the pain response of patients with chronic pathological pain states (including phantom limb pain).
Prior to this, I developed broad therapeutic skills as a junior rotational physiotherapist at Broomfield Hospital and later as a senior therapist at Frimley Park Hospital (with a dual specialism in Critical Care and Vascular Surgery/Amputees). I was successful in securing my role as a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Amputee Rehabilitation and Vascular Surgery at Frimley Park Hospital in 2012. I remained in this role until February 2021. I completed my MSc degree in Amputee Rehabilitation at the University of Southampton in March 2021, earning a distinction.
I accept instructions from both Claimant and Defendant Solicitors and Insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.