« HandReach's arrival in Beijing | Main | Wrapping up in Beijing »


Handreach in Beijing

Yesterday was Hump Day for us here -- we reached the midpoint of our clinic here in Beijing!  Changti's surgeries took all day and were very successful -- the doctors did some very delicate work on both hands to release tendons and try to give him as much function as possible at this point, and released tissue under both arms to give him significantly greater range of motion.  Today, our rehab therapy team will work with our videographer to shoot a video about the rehab techniques he will need after his bandages come off.  We plan to shoot a detailed video (with Chinese narration) of each step of the process, and send DVDs to both him and the local hospital we are working with in Hunan that will support his long-term rehabilitation.  We are planning to go to this hospital (operated by the Hunan Fire Department) in Hunan's capital, Changsha, next summer to inaugurate the area's first rehab center for burn survivors, and we'll be excited to see Changti's progress by then!

Things have been so lovely with our clinic at the hospital this week!  We are all deeply in love with the children.  Our two toddler amputees, FeiFei and TingTing, both got new prosthetics yesterday and are walking around (and dancing!) with great panache.  Our team has been offering morning group activities (drumming and art therapy), working individually with each child to make needed splints and pressure garments, and making great progress psychosocially with each child, particularly a few that have shown severe signs of PTSD, like one little boy whose mother died saving him in a house fire.  The staff here in Beijing is asking lots of questions about psychosocial care, and our two amazing Child Life therapists (Jessie Hagerman from Shriners Springfield and John Chiang from National Chengchi University in Taiwan) are working hard to develop a culturally-relevant psychosocial protocol HandReach can provide to be included in each child's chart henceforth.  

One modality that has proven extremely effective here is Martin Isaac's vibedrum -- a little ovular metal drum cut with notes in a soft pentatonic scale which is played with soft mallets (actually, bouncy-balls on dowels, also produced by Martin).  The instrument is so soft and lovely -- and impossible to play in a way that sounds bad -- and we've been using it to provide soft music for painful procedures, which has been very welcomed by staff typically accustomed to deal with kids shrieking from being treated without pain medicine of any kind.  We are making significant inroads with surgery, nursing, and rehab in ways that will involve significant psychosocial training in all aspects of care at the unit.

Tomorrow will be the inauguration of our Prosthetics Unit!  The Air Force Hospital already has a very nice sign on the wall announcing the space as "Provided by the cooperation of the American HandReach Foundation," and we have plenty of hall space in which to place parallel bars, stairs, and other rehab items it will be nice to have close to the fabrication room.  We are all thinking of ways to keep the progress we've made this week going -- video training pods, cooperation on clinical trials of a particular kind of Chinese medicine the hospital here is using for scar treatment, supplying vibe drums and of course rehab equipment and supplies, developing a telemedicine relationship with Shriners Springfield, etc.   

So much to do, and what a team to do it!  Very grateful for the utterly amazing people joining hands in this Fire Work!

June 29th 2011


The comments to this entry are closed.


My Other Accounts

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 04/2011