Laura – Physiotherapist #HeroesOfTransplantation9 October 2022
I am a physiotherapist specialising in heart and lung transplantation and I look after patients throughout their transplant journey.
My name is Laura McGarrigle. I am a physiotherapist specialising in heart and lung transplantation and have worked in the transplant unit in Wythenshawe Hospital for 14 years. I look after patients throughout their transplant journey. This includes their pre-op assessment, sometimes rehabilitation prior to their surgery and throughout their entire post op recovery on ICU and the ward.
A large proportion of patients who have had a heart or lung transplant lose a lot of muscle afterwards, especially those who need to stay for a prolonged period in ICU. My team and I work with these recipients to help improve their strength, mobility and independence. For some this means learning to sit up before they can even stand and start to take their first steps. Every week we try to set goals for each patient to work towards, this can include getting out of bed for the first time, having a shower, climbing the stairs or simply getting outdoors for some fresh air. Alongside the more obvious physical benefits to rehabilitation we see hugely positive psychological benefits which, during the wait for a donor heart, are incredibly valuable. Alongside our OT colleague we help to plan people’s discharge home and support them with ongoing rehabilitation at home.
The role of the Physiotherapist
The physiotherapy team works with patients to build strength so that they can sit out of bed and begin walking. Patients may have had a long period of illness and it may take some time to improve their level of fitness. The physiotherapy team will work with patients daily to improve their strength, stamina and co-ordination through exercise. They will support patients in their transition from hospital to home and into the future.
Read more about this role on our Transplant Roles page.