Innovo: Nothing's hard if you know how to do it!
Innovo: Nothing's hard if you know how to do it!
For ten years already, the Innovo Medical Centre of Physical Therapy & Pain Medicine improves the quality of life of people and their physical condition thanks to the hard work of both its children’s and adults’ departments. Along the way, Innovo has become Ukraine’s leader in the field of children’s rehabilitation. Lviv Today met with Zakhar Kozii, chief physical therapist at children’s department who told more about centre’s everyday life.
- Please tell us, how you started your medical career as physical therapist?
My professional career started at Lviv’s Dzherelo Children's Rehabilitation Centre in which I worked for 3 years. It was in this place where I realized that I like working with people. While studying all physical therapists gain burning desire to help all patients: to make people walk again after blood stroke, make feel healthy after injuries, however not many of them want to work with children. At Dzherelo Center I clearly understood that for me working with kids is very easy as they are sincere, authentic and I quickly find method of communicating with them, received feedback and all that became solid foundation for my future work. At this medical institution I was also involved with kids in everyday routines – helped to put clothes on, go to the lavatory, played, but I needed to work more with physical rehabilitation. At some point I felt like I’m burning out and need some changes. And those changes came! I was offered job at newly founded Innovo Medical Centre of Physical Therapy. At the very beginning it was a bit scary - among centre’s employees were a lot of students, who constantly asked for my advice as I already had some experience, however I for sure didn’t knew everything. It was at Innovo centre, where I learned many new things – talking to parents, providing consultations and co-operating with other resident physicians. I start feeling successful, as I saw that I am getting good results and I satisfy my position. I felt inspired as everything that I dreamt of during 5 years in professional aspect became real! And the recipe for success is very simple – Innovo is a big team of like-minded people, who work hard for same goal.
- What are the perfect qualities for physical therapist?
Alongside professional skills for physical therapist is obligatory to have sympathy for patients, being good listener, understanding and cooperative. Not everybody can manage it as along the way many people who came to work at Innovo failed as the job is very demanding and complex. But somebody should do it. That is why it is very important to feel comfortable at what you are doing, to love your job, be appropriate and then everything will come easy.
- What methods of physical rehabilitation are implemented at Innovo centre?
In reality there is no need to invent anything new, as there are lots of world’s proven rehabilitation practices. It is necessary to learn how to implement those practices and get positive results. At Innovo physical therapist’s job is based on evidence based medicine, that during decades checks various methods and their effectiveness. Of course, with time being methods sustain changes, so are we as we also change, learn, search for something new in order to get best results for the patients. At Innovo we work with children via games, as all kids love to play, it is natural for them. It is during playing games, when therapist can do a lot of things, providing therapeutic treatment in form of jolly pastime or entertainment. During those games we train children’s functions and physical qualities: we teach how to hold head up, roll over, go, jump, run etc. our main task is to made the kid maximum socialized and self-reliant. Sometimes we have very complicated patients – kids that are completely dependable on family members, so in such cases we must teach them how in best way to provide care and give tips how to play games, as kids not always can express their needs and emotions.
- Is the result of rehabilitation dependable on child’s age?
Quick diagnostic assessment and intervention to the problem gives better prognosis in the future. It is also important to bring as much help as possible - neurologist, psychologist, pediatrician, speech-language pathologist and physical therapist and together with family, provide treatment to the child. For the present time I notice tendency that more families with kids 1,5 – 2 years old come for consultations, in comparison with kids mainly 4-5 years old who came couple of year ago. That tendency confirms level of trust from the parents to our centre as for them their child is the most precious person in the world. Professionally we are very happy with this tendency as being specialists we can be the first ones to tackle problem and provide all help and knowledge that we possess.
- Nowadays there are numerous rehabilitation centres, so what’s so special about Innovo?
Yes, in Ukraine exist many different rehabilitation centres, however it is Innovo that provides the best physical rehabilitation. We do not compete with such centers as Dzherelo, as it is the place where children with special needs live and are. Such types of medical institutions should exist not only in each city but be several in each part of the city. We work in very specific area of rehabilitation – we provide physical rehabilitation and are proud to gain excellent results in this field. For now at Innovo works 4 teams of physical therapists so that with each kid works several specialists simultaneously as such practice is more effective and makes treatment in form of game more interesting and easy. Team of employees at Innovo is constantly developing, for the moment at centre works psychologist, social care teacher, and we are about to fill in vacancy of speech-language. Considering that we started only providing therapy we did pretty good. Thanks to our management team, Innovo’s specialists improve their skills, for example, five therapists and psychologist will take part in the International Congress on Neurorehabilitation which will take place in Paris in May. That would be excellent opportunity to share experience and communicate with colleagues from around the globe to make sure that we are following the right path. Practical seminars, lectures and new acquaintance are always the best ways for development.
- What difficulties you as physical therapist have faced?
There are some specific problems, with which we are constantly dealing, for example ideas from other specialists, who consult patient’s parents. Some specialists provide parents with unrealistic hopes in cases where prognosis is not so positive. We are against such approach as we want to give each child possibility to get to accessible level of independence - for some kids it is learning how to go, for others it is possibility to move in wheel-chair or with the help of other means. Such options make children feel independent. However for parents it is sometime very hard to face and accept reality. It is important to make final decision as time is of essence for children who need to learn how to be self-dependent. Scientific researches show us that the severeness of an illness of the person is not directly related to quality of life. A man in wheel-chair or bedridden patient could be more happy than a person who can go freely. Everything depends on necessities of those people and level of their implementation or satisfaction.
- Who are mainly your patients?
We do not choose our patients, anyone can come to us for consultation. We do our best to help patients, despite predicted results. Surely there are physical rehabilitation contraindications and in such cases we jointly, with other doctors, take strategic decisions. At Innove come many patients from around Ukraine as centre’s specialists are well known. Also come patients from Belarus, Poland, Georgia, Armenia, in summer come many Americans of Ukrainian descent, who combine their visits to Ukraine with physical rehabilitation. We even launched English language courses at Innovo, in order to communicate freely with everybody!
- Sometimes people choose treatment abroad, hoping that level of medical or rehabilitation services will be higher. Is it worth considering?
Recently we invited teachers of Ergotherapy (Occupational therapy), who provided courses at Ukrainian Catholic University to visit Innovo. Among those visitors were highly qualified specialists: the vice-president of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, ergotherapy professor from Australian University, Canadian and British colleagues. We were very interested to hear their opinion about our centre, as we practically implement those knowledges that they came to Lviv to share with. We were very anxious until we realized that foreign colleagues are truly fascinated to see our work, as they had no idea that such centre exists in Ukraine – with progressive approach to treatment, with no passive time consuming procedures; with possibility to select best wheel-chair or any other additional means. Frankly, professional level of services at Innovo is completely in accordance with European requirements. It is understandable that people use all alternatives in order to help their child. However after being abroad they come back, as they realize that we are on same level, even better as here there is no language barrier. They are in Ukraine, at home! Team at Innovo puts a lot of efforts to improve level of physical therapy not only at the centre, but in Ukraine in general. With such noble goal I personally teach at Innovo Academy educational course for specialists and tell them about all the latest methods and their implementations. In reality there are many people eager to help on completely new quality level and that is extremely good news!