Walking to the bedroom, going to the kitchen, stepping out into the backyard – many of us take our mobility for granted. But Eduard Fainveits, a physiotherapist working in aged care facilities, knows just how difficult and rewarding it can be for residents to get on their feet again.
Eduard, who likes to go by “Eddy”, works as a physiotherapist with HealthStrong, an allied health provider that recently joined the Medibank family. His favourite part of working in aged care physiotherapy is providing residents with the opportunity to regain their independence in everyday activities. “My best experience to date was working with a patient who had not been able to walk for over six months. Within one month of commencing physiotherapy she had achieved independent wheelchair mobility; and by the end of the third month, she was able to walk to and from the dining room with supervision. A few weeks ago she approached me and told me how happy she was that she had regained the ability to go to the bathroom without assistance.”
Eddy was born in Latvia to a Ukranian father and Russian mother, who immigrated to Australia in 1994. While studying physiotherapy at Monash University, he had exposure to different types of clinical placements, especially in community centres and rehab in the home, which helped him to determine what kind of role he would want to look for. “My placements in community centres and rehab in the home gave me a taste of what physiotherapy has become to me – the opportunity to sit down with a person and properly define their long term goals and ambitions, whilst having the time and freedom to accomplish them.”
Eddy getting out and about with his dogs.
In addition to working with his patients on their individual goals, Eddy actively promotes exercise, falls prevention, and reduction of environmental hazards at the aged care facility where he works. He’s especially excited about a current project called “Walk around Australia”, where residents use pedometers to record their weekly walking distances, which are tallied up and plotted on a giant map of Australia. “To date, we have travelled over 4,500km and have ‘visited’ places such as the Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Uluru”, he says. “We organise parties and themed events to celebrate reaching landmark destinations. Two months ago we organised a wine tasting evening for residents in celebration of reaching the Barossa Valley, and just last week we had an animal sanctuary bring in Australian wild life to celebrate reaching Uluru.”
For Eddy, the most satisfying part of his job is knowing he is making a difference in the lives of the residents. Medibank’s purpose, For Better Health, resonates strongly with him. “As a health professional, if I didn’t give a person the opportunity to try and work towards their goals, no matter what they may be, we would never know what they may be capable of achieving.
To me, For Better Health is about understanding what each patient wants, what their goals, ambitions and hopes are, and doing everything in my power and skill set to try and achieve some element of those goals.”