Emilios cooking his way to recovery

DATE: 30 November 2020

Emilios cooking his way to recovery

When Paula Burns, Service Manager at Yooralla’s Powley Parade home, noticed that Emilios wasn’t making much progress with his recovery, her team decided to trial an innovative approach to his physiotherapy sessions.

After an injury, Emilios had to use a wheelchair and faced a long road to recovery.

But with his Yooralla team by his side, he’s been making progress in leaps and bounds. He is now strong enough to not just stand for increasingly longer periods of time but also box.

When Paula Burns, Service Manager at Yooralla’s Powley Parade home, noticed that Emilios wasn’t making much progress with his recovery, her team decided to trial an innovative approach to his physiotherapy sessions.

“Even after months of physio, Emilios could only stand for one minute at a time and found it quite uncomfortable; so we wanted to find a way to keep him engaged and distracted during his sessions, as the longer he could stand, the stronger he could get, meaning a faster recovery.

“We run the Yooralla healthy eating program at our service, and Emilios used to work as a head chef at a fancy French restaurant and was very passionate about his job, so we decided to try marrying up the two,” said Paula.

It was agreed with Emilios’s physiotherapist, Lucas Camuncoli, that they would trial holding their physio sessions during meal preparations in the kitchen, where they would simulate a professional, commercial kitchen setting.

“Supported by his physio, Emilio stands at the kitchen bench acting as our head chef, giving out orders. I am his sous-chef, which translates from French as a chef who is the second in command, and he tells me what items I need to get out of the fridge, freezer or cupboard and gives me instructions on how to prepare the evening meal,” said Paula.

Lucas said it was “so commendable to see the dedication and passion” of the staff at Powley Parade to proactively seek new ways to better support Emilios with his physio program.

“This innovative approach really helped Emilios to focus on the task rather than the pain and discomfort he may feel when weight bearing.

“He has been able to increase the amount of time he can stand in each session from one minute to 15 minutes in just one month, and now we are aiming for 18 minutes! He has come a long way,” he said.

Emilios said that he has been enjoying his physio sessions since this new approach and now has new ambitious goals.

“I want to get stronger so I can use my walker instead of sitting in the wheelchair.

“I like my physio program now and can now stand for longer. I like helping to cook the dinner and when the staff ask me about being a chef,” he said.

Lucas said he is confident that Emilios can reach his goal.

“We are all working really hard to help him achieve this goal. The physiotherapy support has obviously been very beneficial for Emilios, but it has truly been a team effort.

“Without the dedication and commitment of the talented team at Powley Parade we couldn’t achieve such fantastic results so fast,” he said.

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