Lydia is a physio assistant at QEF’s Independent Living Service, a specialist residential care service for people with complex physical disabilities and additional learning disabilities. Lydia started at QEF as a support worker, helping residents to achieve daily tasks and develop their skills. She moved into our physiotherapy team about 6 months ago.
“I’m 24 and I had always done restaurant or bar work until I saw the advert for QEF and got really overexcited - I wanted to do something more worthwhile, something that had more of a point to it. I worked as a care support worker here for just over a year and I really enjoyed that. But then something about the physio assistant role sounded exciting and played to my wheelhouse a little bit. Whilst we were waiting for the full-time physio to join the team, I was doing 2 days a week at QEF’s Neuro Rehabilitation Service and loved it. Their rehab work there is awesome. Now we have our physio at ILS it’s really cool though - it’s all about the little wins with our guys. You get that in care too, but we mainly see people in their happy space here - we’re seeing them do what they want to do.
I can’t do all the awesome stuff when the physio isn’t here, but we have a walker where people are really well supported, so I can go for a walk with them which lots of people enjoy. I use the bikes which are really easy too.
When the physio is here we can play with the big ideas. One girl uses the mats and walker quite a lot and we got her to do a standing transfer. It doesn’t sound that cool, but I never thought it would be possible for her, so it was a big win. It’s not so much about what we do with them, so much as the impact it has for them.
We definitely have people who when I walk round the corridors almost fling themselves out of their chair in excitement – “are you coming to find me?” That’s really sweet. I guess we’re more about quality of life – doing stuff they enjoy, as maintenance is different from rehabilitation. We are working towards a goal and we’re doing stuff that’s good for the residents and they enjoy it, so it doesn’t feel so much like work to them.
This is definitely more rewarding than serving burgers! It’s always the really little things that I find most rewarding, like helping people with minimal communication skills, when you spend time with them and know what they trying to say. It can be hard work to understand at first but once you’ve cracked it that’s fantastic - it’s a real win. This has 100% planted a seed in my brain and I’m thinking about doing a physio degree now.”