Very Special Kids’ physiotherapist Belinda Luther has received a 2020 Churchill Fellowship to further explore physiotherapy in a children’s hospice by visiting the UK and Ireland next year.
There are only 112 recipients nationally and, when travel restrictions change, Belinda will head to the UK and Ireland to investigate and implement best practice physiotherapy in Australian Paediatric Palliative Care through visiting a number of children’s hospices. She hopes to establish strong professional connections with the physiotherapists there who have extensive experience and knowledge in this area of practice.
Belinda has been providing great advice around the physio needs of Very Special Kids soon-to-be-built hospice, expected to be complete by 2023, which will include, for the first time, a hydrotherapy pool and improved outdoor and indoor play areas to promote physical activity.
The timing of her fellowship will align well with the rebuild so this opportunity will also enable her to see further the benefits of providing aquatic and land-based physiotherapy in a paediatric hospice setting.
Belinda said she was ultimately inspired to apply for a fellow following the encouragement of Patron Sister Margaret, who was a Churchill Fellowship recipient in 1989.
Very Special Kids Chief Executive Officer, Michael Wasley, said:
“This is a wonderful achievement and will help raise the profile of physiotherapy in a children’s hospice setting, we look forward to supporting Belinda next year when she is able travel overseas and complete her project. We are all so proud of her and we know it was a lot of effort that has all paid off,” he said.
Belinda is expecting to be abroad for six to eight weeks. On her return she anticipates knowledge gained will be shared with Very Special Kids, to other paediatric hospices in Australia, with the broader Physiotherapy community, and paediatric palliative care networks so that ultimately all children who require palliative care in Australia receive Physiotherapy support which is in line with best practice.