You ViewsVOLUME 18 ISSUE # 44

Significance of holistic care

World Physiotherapy Day was recently observed globally on Sept 8, but there was nothing much seen happening in Pakistan, which is kind of unfortunate. The day reminded me of the physiotherapist who, working in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, made many realise the significance of holistic care.

Amid beeps and buzz that mark the ICU environment riddled with machines, monitors and wires, the physiotherapist, along with other members of the ICU team, worked hard to provide a human touch to the patients there. Whenever a patient took a major step towards recovery by getting, say, extubated (off the ventilator and able to breathe normally), the physiotherapist brought a burst of cheerfulness to the ICU, with colourful balloons. It was, in the words of the physiotherapist, a celebration of progress and recovery.

From this simple idea cropped a bigger one. The balloons soon became a therapy tool. Handing over balloons to the patients, the physiotherapist encouraged them to blow air into them. This helped their lungs grow stronger with each breath. It was a meaningful step towards recovery in an unconventional manner.

A few months later, the ICU saw a touching incident when a patient, who had successfully recovered and returned to life, paid a surprise visit to the physiotherapist with a large packet of balloons. According to the patient, the balloons had been a source of amazing healing power and energy. He called it the best medicine in his recovery phase, and had come to encourage the physiotherapist to continue with the practice.

Thanks to the physiotherapist’s thoughtful approach, the ICU stood transformed into a place of optimism and progress. There were cheerful balloons beyond the depressing beeps. There was sunshine beyond the darkness. There was health beyond the ailment.

Nida Rizvi