When we were starting work in the hospitals, we knew from the very beginning that psychological support and physical rehabilitation would become crucial areas of our activity because helping with treatment is only a part of our mission. No less important is the work we do to fight the consequences of the disease.
We organized a rehabilitation service room at the Cancer Institute 13 years ago, almost immediately after the Foundation was established. Thanks to our donors and partners, it is well equipped with modern facilities. However, our service’s primary value is people, our specialists, on whose professionalism the success of rehabilitation depends, and who, over these 13 years, have helped more than 500 children to get back on their feet and live fully after surgery.
Tetiana Makovska has been working at the rehabilitation service for 12 years. She came to us as a children’s masseur. Today she is an experienced rehabilitation specialist and head of the service:
“I really like my job because I see the result. A week ago, the child was lying almost motionless, and now he/she is standing and walking. Rehabilitation should start as soon as possible. For example, before the surgery, a child should be taught to stand on crutches. After the surgery, it is always harder, and the child learns everything again. It is also essential to teach them to breathe correctly. To do this, we develop a set of breathing exercises, train them and then monitor their performance. Breathing is fundamental, and proper breathing helps to cope with panic and stress.
After the surgery, with the permission of a doctor, we start working with children. As a rule, the rehabilitation period lasts from six to eight months. It is extremely important to be patient and go through the whole course to avoid serious consequences such as impaired gait, various deformation, swelling, as well as contractures causing the limb to stop bending fully in one or more joints.
Rehabilitation techniques are different for each child. However, every time there is a goal and a strategy, how to achieve it. Because all children are different, the approach to them is different. In some cases, it is enough to play dolls with a child to get them doing their exercises, and in other cases, a psychologist is involved in finding motivation together.
Due to the coronavirus, I to switch to the online format partially. On the one hand, this complicates the work – it has become more difficult to control patients. On the other hand, it has made us realize that remote rehabilitation is also possible for children from other cities.
Throughout all these years of working with children, once again, I have seen how much stronger, wiser, and more patient they are than we, adults, have thought of them. They are all heroes. I am proud of everyone I’ve had to work with.
In 2020, the partner of the Physical Rehabilitation Project is the Hyniansky Family Foundation Winner Group Ukraine.
You can support the project by following the link: https://zaporuka.org.ua/en/projects/physical-rehabilitation/