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HKCSS “Youth Internship in Caring Profession for a Brighter Future” Project

Sharing by Kelly Yeung
Year-4 student of BSc (Hons) in PT programme

Mental illnesses are often portrayed as signs of weakness in Hong Kong, and some people might even regard patients with mental illnesses as lunatics. I did not have the opportunity to approach or provide services for patients with mental health issues until recently I worked as a senior student worker at Lok Wah Adult Training Centre. These patients are not as “crazy” as the world has portrayed them, and they are just like children who need frequent care and monitoring.

Unfortunately, due to the shortage of manpower at residential care homes resulting from the outburst of COVID-19, there have not been sufficient workers to provide mobilisation exercises for dependent patients. As a result, their deconditioning worsens. As a physiotherapist, I aimed to mobilise these patients with different aids according to their capabilities and add on strengthening exercises when necessary. To provide effective treatments, I recognised the importance of the use of appropriate body language and simple commands during communication. These are the keys to overcoming the communication barrier I encountered. Another particular precaution that needs to be taken when working for patients with mental illnesses is to protect oneself and other uninvolved groups when any of the patients have an agitated mood or become aggressive. These patients often show specific signs or symptoms before becoming offensive, and as therapists, we have to be observant and select the suitable time for treatment prudently. Some people might show concern about a higher risk of injury when providing services for patients with mental health issues. In fact, appropriate measures could be adopted to minimise the risk of injury.

This is overall a valuable experience to me. It gives me great satisfaction to witness patients’ improvement after the treatment sessions, which in turn encourages me to continue to provide physiotherapy services for patients in need.

Kelly Yeung_IMG_7510_edited

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