“Holding an event like this one enables us to say thank you for the fantastic work therapists do, and also gives people a chance to refresh their knowledge, be inspired, network and share ideas, and learn new ways of improving patients’ lives.”

Given the ever-increasing workload of Occupational Therapists and other healthcare professionals, it’s no mean feat to bring 200 of them together at one place on one day.

This is exactly what Yorkshire Care Equipment, a healthcare equipment supplier based in Harrogate, managed to achieve on Tuesday the 2nd of December. The YORTRAIN GOLD Event, as the company’s annual training day is known as, took place at the famous Great Yorkshire Showground, and included a wide range of training courses, motivational speakers, and exhibition stands where professionals could try out equipment and discuss client needs with product specialists.

We caught up with Tristan Hulbert, the training coordinator at Yorkshire Care Equipment, to find out why the event’s attendance was so high. “We’ve run the event for 3 years now,” explained Tristan, “and numbers have increased year-on-year. I think people are genuinely excited about the variety and quality of training, and obviously the word gets round! People love the fact that it’s completely free of charge for healthcare professionals – we fund the entire day – and the way it’s so relevant to their day-to-day caseloads. Last year, 100% of attendees rated the training as good or excellent, and we had some incredible feedback. We’ve not got feedback through for the 2015 event yet, but the comments we’ve had so far have been fantastic anyway!”

The day started with a rousing motivational speech from a ‘mystery guest speaker’, Phil Hopkins, who told a story from his life to emphasise the importance of the word ‘possibilities’. Often the role of a healthcare professional is all about creating those possibilities and opportunities for patients, and it served as a useful reminder of why therapists do what they do!

Further full audience presentations took place throughout the morning, including a lively speech from Simon Love, a well-known manual handling consultant. Simon covered a wide range of moving and handling and risk management techniques, and even had delegates carrying out the ‘Egress Test’ on themselves in the presentation hall, which is a quick and easy way to determine how much assistance a patient needs to transfer! Anita Rush, a specialist on bariatric patient needs, travelled from Berkshire to present on the ‘complexities of plus-sized management’, a talk which included aspects such as manual handling, equipment, and risk assessments, all brought to life with interesting case studies.

After a complimentary hot lunch, attendees were given the opportunity to explore the exhibition hall, where a huge range of Yorkshire Care Equipment’s products was on display, including specialist seating, electric wheelchairs (including the new folding Zinger power chair), ramp systems, moving and handling products, beds and mattresses, and specialist baths and wash-dry toilets. One item attracted a great deal of interest – the new Raizer, which is designed to lift a fallen person from the floor quickly, easily, and with just one carer.

Tristan wanted to ensure that professionals had a chance to actually try out products, be hands-on, and discuss particular client cases and needs with others. “That’s why we included the exhibition stand idea for this year, along with two smaller practical breakout training sessions, one on slings and one on manual handling in bed. They certainly went down very well, and they even seemed to be a bit overcrowded at some stages.”

Single carer manual handling is a hot subject for Occupational Therapists these days, so one of the afternoon’s full audience presentations was dedicated to the subject. Gavin Wright, a familiar face to moving and handling coordinators for a number of years, gave his last speech of his career on the topic. In a final gesture to the healthcare industry, he also released a handy Android app to assist professionals to make a decision on whether or not single carer patient handling is appropriate (the app is available for therapists to use for free – just search ‘Yorkshire Care Equipment’ on the Google Play store).

The last speech of the day included a whole range of aspects relating to the therapist’s role in specialist seating. Ellie Burcher, OT, presented the subject in an enthusiastic and down-to-earth way, highlighting some of the issues in the industry and providing some useful tips for prescribing seating for patients.

One of the highlights was the prize draw at the end of the conference. Yorkshire Care Equipment’s in-house physiotherapist, Padraig Finn, gave the audience a surprise when he performed an ‘Irish jig’ dance on stage, in time to the event piano player’s lively music!

“All in all, it was a fantastic day”, concludes Tristan, “and we feel it’s a fantastic way of giving back to therapists. We work alongside 1500 healthcare professionals throughout the north of England on a daily basis, carrying out on-site assessments with equipment such as specialist seating and transfer aids, so we know just how busy they are. Holding an event like this one enables us to say thank you for the fantastic work therapists do, and also gives people a chance to refresh their knowledge, be inspired, network and share ideas, and learn new ways of improving patients’ lives.”

The company’s new mobile friendly website, complete with a new company video (both of which were launched at the event), can be seen HERE. Alternatively, the Yorkshire Care Equipment team can be contacted on 01423 799960 or at enquiries@yorkshirecare.com.

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