Lynsey Matthews has been a Physiotherapist at Portsmouth Enablement Centre based within St Mary’s Treatment Centre since January 2013. Lynsey, 40, lives in Portsmouth with her husband and three children, and is sharing her story for the 75th anniversary of D-Day about her essential role within the rehabilitation centre.
The Portsmouth Enablement Centre provides a regional prosthetic service to people living in Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and some areas of West Sussex, and is one of nine enhanced Veterans Care centres in the UK providing specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation services for veterans whose amputation is attributed to their military service.
As a physiotherapist, Lynsey’s role is a key part of the ongoing recovery process for veterans.
Lynsey says: “I work with amputees, mainly those who have recently undergone an amputation, to help them learn to use a prosthetic limb. I also consider how they may manage while not wearing a prosthetic limb or if they were not able to use a limb.”
Within her role, Lynsey often sees veterans develop over time as they work towards and often excel beyond their own personal goals.
Lynsey explains: “I treat a lot of veterans who may have been injured during service and then many years later have required an amputation due to that injury. These are a group of younger veterans that I see, and they tend to still follow a very military ethos.
“They’re keen to push themselves and achieve high levels of mobility, and return to sporting activities. We support them to ensure they have the specific strength, balance and ability to return to these activities.”
Lynsey offers invaluable support to these veterans through her essential physiotherapy work, to help improve their quality of life.
Lynsey says: “I have always been passionate about rehabilitation and working closely with patients to help them achieve their functional goals and improve their quality of life.
“I was successful in getting this role after returning to work after maternity leave and have utilised experience from working in a different field of physiotherapy to working closely with amputees. I really enjoy building relationships with my patients to ensure I understand what is important to them and how I can best help them.”
There’s never a quiet day in a physiotherapist role, and Lynsey says she enjoys the challenge.
She explains: “On the whole, most of the veterans we see are very well motivated and keen to listen and take on board advice. Often the younger patients have higher level goals and want to push themselves more, which may require me to consider activities that don’t come up very often and can be challenging, but that’s what make the job different and exciting.
“Seeing patients achieve their goals and being able to do the things that make them happy is the most rewarding part of my job.”
With the 75th Anniversary of D-Day taking place this year, Lynsey reflects on how the veterans that she works with are affected by their own war experience.
Lynsey says: “I often see the impact that war has had on my patients. This can have an impact on their ability to come to terms with their amputation.
“It can have a huge effect on their ability to engage with rehabilitation, and this is why it’s important that we have access to counselling services within the centre. In physiotherapy we have the ability to take a holistic approach when addressing physical and emotional needs.”