Guest: Cathy Harries
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Cathy Harries is a Principal Therapist with Second Skin and has been a member of the team since 1989. Cathy’s role includes initial screening assessments for new referrals to Second Skin clinics in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Ireland. She provides and supervises assessment, fit and follow-up service for clients regarding neurological splints and garments, and clinical support to referring therapists, medical and allied health practitioners, throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Segment overview: Second Skin is a private company which prescribes, designs, fits and monitors custom made compression garments for clients with burns, traumatic injuries, vascular conditions and lymphoedema and custom made dynamic splints for clients with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and strokes.
Health Professional Radio – Second Skin
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today Cathy Harries joins me. Now Cathy is the Manager of Clinical Services, Client Support and Development at Second Skin. Cathy welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Cathy Harries: Thank you for having me.
W: It’s our pleasure. Now Cathy Second Skin is not a name that sort of immediately tells me what it does. Can you fill me a little bit about what it is that Second Skin does and where about do you service geographically?
C: We are manufactures and suppliers of medical compression garments for a whole range of medical conditions. So we design and prescribe and assist and follow up compression garments that you might see on patients with injury for instance. But also for patients through a whole wide range of other traumatic injury as well. And we also design any prescribe dynamic splints for children and adults neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, some of the post-stroke group and multiple sclerosis and many other conditions as well.
W: Now Cathy my clinical skills are of the same mirror of Florence Nightingale I think. Tell me a little about dynamics splints, because they’re not something that I can’t call to mind readily and that’s probably because I’m old and well over with clinical circle. But just for those listeners who might be in my category, just explain how that work to us.
C: The dynamic splints are fabric based Wayne, we use a range of different fabric depending on what we’re aiming to achieve with the splint. We’re prescribing them for people who’ve got neurological conditions like cerebral palsy where we want to impact on particular goals like their sitting skills or stepping skills, their ability to reach and hold something, their ability to drive an electric wheelchair, hold a cup, access technology for a whole range of different particular functional goals. And so we’re using fabric in way that improves their working posture that makes a difference to their awareness of their body and makes a different to their muscle tone and their set to feedback, so that their more able to achieve particular targeted goal.
W: Now Cathy where about do you provide your services?
C: We manufacture and design all of our splints in Perth but we hold clinics all around Australia in all capital cities at various times of the year and in some regional centers as well. In the last 18 months, we’ve been starting to do some clinics in New Zealand and our team now we’ve been conducting some in the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
W: Ah I see. So that’s a big footprint Australia wide, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
C: Absolutely, yeah absolutely. It’s very exciting and it’s all still made in Australia, all prescribed and designed in Australia, but it is and followed up and monitored by some our staff who are UK based.
W: Ah and I’m guessing that this have to be a made to order individual fitting item?
C: Absolutely. So each client is assisted with his/her individual need and then we prescribed around that, and so there’s a huge variation in the client that we see, in terms of their age, in their condition, and their ability and disability. But also in terms of the splint that we prescribe for them because each of them do different thing in their life that require different kinds of splint.
W: Uh huh. Now Cathy most of our audience, in fact about 95% of our audience are clinicians of one kind or another. We get a lot of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and acute care in the hospitals, but also a lot of aged care professionals in the aged care industry. What’s the message you’d like them to take away today as a result of having heard you on Health Professional Radio?
C: That we’re there to assist in any way we can. We work with clinicians of all kinds and all distant locations around Australia and in the UK so we’re often talking to medics or nurses or orthoptists, and certainly therapists in a variety of locations. So if anybody has a problem and they want us to look at or issue they want us to address and we love to problem solve, we love to think things through and clinically reason what the best path is to make different to the client that we’ve seen.
W: Now Cathy my favorite question in every interview is about misconceptions. There are misconceptions in every industry, what’s the biggest misconception amongst your customers, clients, patients, clinicians, that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?
C: Oh my goodness. One of the biggest misconceptions is probably some of the clients who think “Gee I might never be able to have one of those. How can I learn how to get one and how would I find funding support such as that?” And that certainly true some of the adult population who might not necessarily know about some of the avenues that you can go down to have some funding support for splints. I think the National Disability Insurance Agency has starting to make a real emergence for that, certainly for some of the clients that we see that got some very positive things to say about the difference that their hoping that will make to their lives and…they can make. So probably the lack of awareness for clients and therapists and allied health practitioners about what we do and who we see and the group of clients that we’re able to look after.
W: Well let’s hope today that we can dispel a little bit of that misconception amongst our audience Cathy. For people who want to get in touch with you, is the website the best place to go?
C: Yes, there are lots of people who contact us on the website now, lots of health practitioners but also clients and families directly contact us asking questions about how we might be of assistance. They can call us, they can email us, the technological world I think we’re getting more and more people contact us online than we’ve ever had before and we’ve got a secure portal on our website that allows clients to safely upload the videos of themselves doing a particular task for instance and then they asked our advice on it. So lots of families or clients are choosing to do that as well, as a way of finding out how we might assist them.
W: Now the website is www.secondskin.com.au, that’s S E C O N D S K I N. What’s the phone number Cathy?
C: 08 9201 9455 that’s our main head office number in Perth, and they will direct the call to any of the therapy chain as required.
W: And that’s an Australian number so +61 and drop the zero, if you’re calling from overseas.
C: Yes it is.
W: Now Cathy you mentioned you’re also in the UK, do you have a UK number for our listeners who are there?
C: Yes there is, it’s a + 44 number 131 449 9497.
W: So for our UK listeners, if you’re in the UK you can call locally in the UK or if you’re in Australia you can call locally in Australia. So those numbers again Cathy, the UK one?
C: +44 131 449 9497
W: Cathy thank you very much for your time this morning. If you just missed my conversation with Cathy Harries the Manager of Clinical Services, Client Support and Development at Second Skin, then the good news is there is a transcript to the interview on the Health Professional Radio website. There is also an audio archive both on YouTube and on SoundCloud and you can access both of those also through our website at www.hpr.fm. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.