New physio vest brings a smile to young patients

Kelly Thornham News

Poorly children suffering from chronic lung disease can now benefit from a brand new treatment vest paid for by Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.

The high-frequency chest wall oscillation vest performs a gentle form of therapy, allowing physiotherapists to treat children with complex health conditions, who would otherwise struggle with hands-on physiotherapy to treat chest infections.

According to paediatric physiotherapist Jill Morris, the vest not only does a wonderful job of clearing mucus from the child’s lungs and improving their breathing, but it also makes them giggle!

“The vest vibrations often make children giggle, which is wonderful to see,” said Jill, who is based at Bradford Royal Infirmary. “And not only is the vest as effective as hands-on physical therapy, but it takes only 10 minutes rather than up to an hour. So not only are we helping the child to feel better, but we are also freeing up more time for them to be with their family.”

The vest, which cost almost £9,000, is already being used by young patients in Bradford – often up to three times per day.

“Many of our patients who require regular physiotherapy treatment for their lung disease also have other underlying health conditions and life-limiting illness,” said Jill. “In these circumstances, it’s not appropriate for us to be carrying out long, hands-on physio sessions and causing unnecessary distress. This vest has been an enormous help.”

Fourteen-year-old Inaya Ali, of Canterbury, Bradford, recently used the vest after a long stay in hospital. Inaya, who has cerebral palsy, would struggle with hands-on therapy, said mum Zahida Ali.

“It has made a big difference to our family,” she said. “I also have two daughters who have cystic fibrosis and they can all use the vest. It makes them laugh!”

Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “It’s lovely to see this piece of equipment, which our charity has funded, making such a big difference to the lives of our young patients.

“We believe that the people of Bradford deserve the very best, which is why we fund over and above what the NHS can provide, often upgrading equipment to the highest specification or purchasing items quicker than the NHS is able to.

“While our physiotherapists are highly trained to carry out physical therapy on children with lung infections, if a piece of equipment is available which is less invasive, they will always strive to make this available. We were delighted to fund this brilliant new therapy, which has the added bonus of making the patients smile!”

To find out more about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the official NHS charity partner of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – and how you can support it through fundraising, donations or volunteering, visit www.bradfordhospitalscharity.org. Alternatively, contact Hayley Collis or Elaine Drake on 01274 274809 or email charity@bthft.nhs.uk

Paediatric physiotherapists Caroline and Jill with their patient, Inaya.