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Watershed moment for Functional Electrical Stimulation

Odstock Medical Ltd shared insight around FES and recently-updated guidelines at its Clinician Forum

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Over 100 clinicians gathered to learn and discuss updated clinical guidelines at Odstock Medical Ltd’s (OML) FES Clinician Forum.

Delegates included those considering setting up/adding FES to their service provision and some clinicians who have over 20 years’ experience treating patients with FES.

The Royal College of Physicians have improved recommendations for rehabilitation, including increasing the amount of therapy in the recovery stage.

The ACPIN (Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology) has reviewed evidence for FES to improve walking for upper motor neuron conditions.

Paul Taylor, OML clinical director, said: “FES is a technique used to improve the mobility and upper limb function of people who have neurological problems such as stroke, MS, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease.

“It is a watershed moment for the technique as the weight of evidence has led to FES being included in the national clinical guidelines from NICE, Royal College of Physicians and ACPIN. It is becoming a standard treatment and there is as strong demand from clinicians to learn more about how they can use it in their practice.

“This event has brought the clinicians at the forefront of FES and shared both best practice and new cutting-edge techniques.  We hope this will lead to more people experiencing the life changing improvement we have seen with our own patients.”

The Royal College of Physicians guidelines (https://www.strokeguideline.org/) have improved recommendations for rehabilitation, including a recommended three hours (previously 40 minutes) of therapy a day within the recovery stage.

They also state that people with stroke should be considered to have the potential to benefit from rehabilitation at any point after their stroke. A greater emphasis is put on the need for intensity and repetition to maximise the benefit from therapeutic interventions.

In support of this, the role of FES / NMES is recognised and its use is recommended in several areas, including shoulder subluxation pain, muscle weakness, retraining of movement and supporting walking.

The ACPIN review which provides strong evidence that FES improves walking for people with upper motor neuron conditions has just been published in Artificial Organs.

The work is one component of the ACPIN Clinical Practice Guidelines that aim to improve the benefits patients receive from FES to support their walking. The guidelines are available at: https://www.acpin.net/pdfs/2210%20QMU%20Report.pdf.

Jane Burridge, President of ACPIN, presented and discussed the impact of the ACPIN guidelines at the event.

“I am delighted to be part of OML’s FES Clinician Forum and discuss and receive feedback for ACPIN’s guidelines. Gaining insight and input from clinicians is crucial to shaping clinical practice,” she said.

“It is so encouraging to see such interest and knowledge of FES in one room and to realise how widely used FES is, how many patients are new benefitting from it and how many therapists are skilled in using it. It is now routine clinical practice.”

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