TGA ambassador and Leeds GP trainee Dr Hannah Barham-Brown is helping elderly and vulnerable people recover during the COVID-19 crisis with support from her TGA WHILL Model C.
Hannah is a practicing GP; however, she is currently working for Leeds Community Healthcare which is supporting an increasing number of senior patients who have been rapidly discharged from hospital.
"When I went to medical school, I trained for many unexpected things however nothing could have prepared me for everything I would face working during coronavirus,” Hannah says. “In many ways, I am very lucky. I’m currently based in the Leeds NHS ‘Recovery Hub’ for patients that need some rehabilitation or a care package starting before they are able to go home.”
Hannah can complete her rounds and consultations with her WHILL which she has named 'Merida'. As walking is challenging due to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, she moves around using the chair’s 'omni wheels' – which allow for on-the-spot turning so she can position herself in tight spaces and better see her patients.
“I am spending much of my day in my WHILL wearing a facemask, visor over my glasses, apron and gloves,” she says. “My patients aren’t able to have visitors so sometimes I have to make difficult phone calls to loved ones to explain the situation and the options we may or may not have."
"I’m also lucky that my condition doesn’t leave me especially ‘vulnerable’ to Coronavirus – whilst as a healthcare professional I know I am at higher risk of catching it than the average member of the population,” she continues. “I know there is a lot of very justified fear in the disabled community at the moment; as ever, it feels like the challenges faced by wider society are magnified for those who rely on care, and have additional health needs. Please, if you are struggling, reach out. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have an amazing community of disabled people sharing their experiences and supporting each other. TGA Mobility are also helping their customers through social media and to try and support people with mobility and independence.
“In medical school, the most important thing I learnt was the importance of working as part of a team – my WHILL helps me do this, especially during this incredibly demanding clinical situation."
Hannah’s April blog will be uploaded here on Tuesday 14th April. Hannah will also be a keynote speaker at Naidex later in the year, 9th and 10th November, NEC.