MS-UK’s Wellness Centre, Josephs Court works closely with the University of Essex to support occupational therapy students (OTS) by providing role-emerging placements while they train.
Each year the Josephs Court team is invited to speak at a symposium with the new OT recruits about role-emerging placements at its Wellness Centre in Colchester, Essex and increase their knowledge of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Diana Crowe, Head of Services, said: ‘We took the opportunity to promote all of our services, but focused on what we deliver at Josephs Court, such as the exercise equipment and the benefits this brings to clients.’
‘There was good interaction and we were asked about the social activities we provide, so we discussed the MS-UK Social Group in Colchester, which has regular coffee mornings and other events such as bingo!’
‘Due to recent headline news regarding HSTC there was an interest in how this treatment could impact on us as a charity and our clients. Just like everyone else we will have to wait and see how the treatment develops, but we will continue to support people with MS for as long as they need us.’
‘We split into groups, which gave us a chance to speak in more detail with some of the students,’ explains Dean Jeffreys, Centre Manager. ‘The students were interested to know about APS Therapy, how we link up with other services and how politics impacts on our strategy.’
Speakers from St Helena’s Hospice spoke about its gardening project for those at the end of life and Craig, from Pots the Soldier, spoke about his post-traumatic stress diagnosis after leaving the army and how he found a love of pottery thanks to the support of OTs – very inspirational!
‘It was great to see the students so interested in the work MS-UK does and we hope to continue to work with Essex University over the coming years. Who knows one day we may have our own MS-UK Occupational Therapist,’ adds Diana.
Just to let you that due to the bank holidays, we will be closed over Easter…
Friday 30 March
MS-UK and Josephs Court will be closed.
Saturday 31 March
Josephs Court, our wellness centre based in Essex, will be open 9am to 3pm.
Monday 02 April
MS-UK and Josephs Court will be closed.
We will reopen on Tuesday 03 April and the MS-UK Helpline will be available from 9am either via live web chat or via telephone on 0800 783 0518. If you would like information about multiple sclerosis (MS) please do visit the MS-UK website.
For those celebrating, Happy Easter!
The MS-UK team
We would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas on behalf of the whole MS-UK team!
Over Christmas the MS-UK Helpline service will be closing from 1pm on Friday 22 December. This service will be up and running again at 9am on Tuesday 02 January.
Our local wellness centre for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis, Josephs Court will be open for some of the Christmas period. Our opening hours over Christmas are as follows:
Saturday 23 December, 10am – 4pm
Monday 25 – Tuesday 26 December closed
Wednesday 27 December, 10am – 2pm
Thursday 28 December closed
Friday 29 December, 10am – 2pm
Saturday 30 December, 10am – 4pm
Monday 01 January closed
Tuesday 02 January 9am – 5pm
We hope you have a lovely Christmas!
My name is Darren, and I’ve recently joined MS-UK as the Community Fundraiser. As a golfer, I was thrilled to hear about my first task – visiting Richard at Rushmere Golf Club!
During Richard Ford’s tenure as club captain of Rushmere Golf Club in the past year, he chose MS-UK as his captain’s charity of the year. On 14 November I went along to be presented with the cheque from Richard at Rushmere Golf Club.
Richard’s sister-in-law Julie lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) and uses the facilities of Josephs Court, the MS-UK wellness centre based in Colchester. One of the many pieces of equipment in Josephs Court is an FES bike (functional electrical stimulation bike). Julie has used the FES bike and seen first-hand the benefits of it for people who live with MS.
The FES bike currently used is now approaching 20 years old and needs replacing so the FES Appeal was launched earlier this year to raise the £22,500 needed to purchase a new one!
During Richards’s time as club captain, himself and the other members of Rushmere Golf Club raised £2,295 which is a fantastic! This contribution will go to our FES Appeal, and has now put the appeal total well over a third of the way there.
I want to say a big thank you to Richard, the club and everyone who has raised this money towards our FES Appeal!
Darren Fuller, Community Fundraiser
On Saturday 28 October our clients at Josephs Court got together for our swinging 60s cyclothon – and it was a great day!
Thank you to everyone that got involved…you managed to clock up over 300 kilometres! Check out the Facebook photo album now.
The cyclothon event is part of our FES Appeal. We are aiming to raise £22.5k for a brand new FES bike for Josephs Court. This is our Essex based wellness centre for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis in our local area.
Thank you again for a groovy day everyone!
Diana Crowe, Head of Services
In this guest blog Angela Pedge tells us of her son Alex's skydive for MS-UK...
I have a wonderful supportive family and friends who help me with my multiple sclerosis (MS) which I have had since 2008. I attend MS-UK social events and use Joseph Court which helps with managing my symptoms of MS.
I was so pleased when my son wanted to do a skydive and raise money for MS-UK.
He contacted MS-UK to see how he could do this and spoke to Nick who helped him set up a JustGiving page and organise the skydive.
We were lucky enough to arrange the jump on his actual 21st birthday which was 19 August 2017
On the day it was a lovely sunny day and we had to be there for 8.30 in the morning. Alex was so excited and a little apprehensive. Alex had a half an hour debriefing and then was all kitted up to make the jump, he then boarded the plane at nine and went up. His family were all there supporting him and watching him make the jump. When he came down he said it was the best thing he’s ever done and he would never forget it.
I am so proud and grateful of my son who has managed to raise £664 so far for MS-UK from friends and family who have kindly donated.
When I asked him why he wanted to do the skydive he said that he wanted to honour me and people like me who have to struggle daily with MS and it was the least he could do to help.
I am really pleased to say you can now read our Impact Report online at www.ms-uk.org/aboutus.
This booklet is our way to thank you to MS-UK supporters and celebrate our success in a public way.
Our mission is to provide high quality, accessible and relevant information and support to anyone affected by multiple sclerosis and in 2016 we built upon our strong foundations to do this.
In this report you can read about the MS-UK Helpline, New Pathways magazine and our Essex-based wellness centre, Josephs Court. I hope you enjoy reading about the progress we made in 2016.
I am proud of what my team has achieved in meeting needs of our clients. Throughout the year we continued to listen to real people affected by multiple sclerosis, and use their voices to shape our services.
Thank you for being part of the journey so far, and I look forward to the future and supporting even more people affected by MS.
Amy Woolf, CEO
I am really pleased to announce that we have secured funding from the National Lottery for our Essex based service, Josephs Court.
The funding will span the next five years and totals £499,300. This will go towards the running costs of Josephs Court, and help us support even more people in our local area affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
Josephs Court has a range of specialised exercise equipment and expert professionals on hand enabling people living with MS to exercise and manage their condition regardless of their levels of mobility. The Big Lottery Fund will support 72% of the costs of providing the service.
It is business as usual at Josephs Court, but thanks to the Big Lottery Fund we are definitely here to stay for the long term!
Amy Woolf, CEO
In this guest blog, Niamh and Sarah talk about what they are doing at Josephs Court, our wellness centre based in Essex…
Hi we are Niamh and Sarah, we are undertaking a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) at the University of Essex. We are half way through completing our final role emerging 8 week placement at MS-UK (Josephs Court) until the beginning of September. As this is a role emerging placement, there is currently no Occupational Therapist within this setting. Therefore, it is our ambition as OT students to promote our profession amongst the MS-UK community.
‘Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.’ (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2017)
We are thoroughly enjoying building a rapport with clients, family, carers and staff. It has reinforced for us the importance of viewing clients and individuals we meet holistically and delivering client centred care.
Both of these concepts are reflected in the core underpinnings and ethos of the OT profession. We are excited to continue to work within this inspiring team. Our aim is to design interventions that may improve the quality of life of the clients that we meet, identify clients potential and where possible collaboratively work to overcome barriers through engaging in activities of daily living and occupations.
Our role as OT students within this setting has consisted of us using transferable skills such as communication, professionalism and listening in conjunction with core OT skills and implementing these at MS-UK.
We have been tasked to identify and develop an occupational focused service development that targets clients’ needs and enables clients to improve their health and well-being. Using our skills we have ascertained that falls is a barrier to engagement in activities of daily living.
After conducting some research within Josephs Court regarding incidences and prevalence of falls, we have ascertained that falls is a barrier for engagement in daily occupations and may be impacting people’s psychological health. As a result, we will facilitate a falls prevention information session. This will take place in Josephs Court. Where possible we shall signpost clients and carers to alternative services, support and equipment to enhance client’s pathways of care. We will continue to make suggestions on self-management techniques.
We are encouraged to adopt the positive mind-set that is so evident from both clients and staff within this community.
‘Occupational Therapy practitioners ask, ‘what matters to you?’ not, ‘what’s the matter with you’.’ (Ginny Stoffel, AOTA President)
Meet the expert Alan Pearson is a Wellness Coach for MS-UK’s wellness centre, Josephs Court. Having spent over 15 years in the health and fitness industry, he has spent the last five years coaching, educating and helping people affected by multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions.
In a seated position place your foot on a roller or tube to isolate the toes. Pull your toes up towards the knee. This will help the ankle joint.
Heel or toe rocking
This can be done in a seated or standing position (hold on if you have stability issues). Rock your foot from toe to heel. There are some exercise aids out there that can help from stability discs to heel toe rockers. Ankle rotations In a seated position try and circle your ankle in clockwise and anti-clockwise movements, if you can lift your leg across your opposite leg you can mobilise the ankle with your hand.
Flexibility and stretching of the lower leg muscles
These stretches can be done to help the calf muscles
Towel stretches for the calf muscles
Use a towel or resistance band over the toes and ball of foot. Hold the end of towel in both hands and pull towards the body, hold for 20 secs, release and then repeat.
Wall stretches for lower leg
Take a split stance position facing the wall, place hands on the wall and stretch out the back of the leg. You should be able to feel the stretch down the back of your calf. Now move your body weight forward and place weight over the front bent leg, you should feel the stretch in the lower portion of the leg.
To release soft tissue tension
This can be achieved with massage or the use of a foam roller, both will release muscle tension and promote blood flow.
Static cycling on upright or re-cumbent cycle
The cycling action encourages repetitive movement of the ankle, which helps mobilise the joints and builds strength in the legs.
Ankle weight resistance band
Place the band around the feet and pull it up towards the body. This is a good exercise to strengthen the muscles. If movement is limited then the use of an active or passive cycle like Medicotech’s Thera-bike is very useful in getting the legs and feet moving. In addition, the use of a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) cycle, such as the Cyclone technologies RT300 for the lower body can be an effective machine.
A TENS machine can help stimulate the relevant muscles, but please get advice from your doctor before using. I would suggest getting assessed or reviewed by a physical therapist or corrective exercise coach. By assessing range of motion, muscle imbalances, muscle weakness or neural impairment you can establish an effective exercise or activity plan that will maximise your outcome and provide a more positive outlook. Then you will feel confident that the exercises you are doing are relevant because it will also help set realistic goals and expectations. The continuity of exercise is a big thing with any neurological conditions, good movement patterns need to be established daily and re-affirmed. Exercise can help in many ways. Whether you get involved in a local exercise group or activity centre, or look online for exercises there is a lot of information out there. It may just inspire you to make the changes needed, or at least start thinking about it.
Subscribe to New Pathways magazine today to read issue 103 and discover more information about managing the symptoms of foot drop through exercise. I
mportant notice: Always seek the advice of your doctor or medical professional before attempting any exercises.