MJD Foundation

Wheelchair Prescription Workshop

Getting the right wheels in motion

Preparing allied health professionals to meet the growing Wheelchair needs of the Northern Territory's Machado Joseph Disease population.

In late May 2012, the MJD Foundation hosted a three-day wheelchair prescription workshop for 22 Northern Territory allied health professionals. The workshop addressed an urgent need - how to prescribe a wheelchair for people with Machado Joseph Disease in remote Aboriginal communities.

‘‘I wish I did this training six years ago. We [allied health professionals] all come out of university with very little training on how to adequately prescribe wheelchairs, let alone on how to prescribe wheelchairs for MJD clients," said participant Simone McGrath (Occupational Therapist).

Apart from the multiple symptoms of MJD, the realities of living in a remote community also need to be considered. The lack of paved roads and walkways, inaccessible buildings and limited access to maintenance and repairs complicate the needs of MJD clients.

The MJD Foundation's Director of Research and Community Services, Libby Massey said "the complexity of providing a wheelchair which clients will use, and address their mobility needs and their swallowing needs is vital to improving their quality of life."

"Our strong relationship with our clients and their communities enabled us to provide a practical session with our MJD clients. It was great to have six of our clients trust us enough to volunteer to be measured, poked and prodded so the skills we learnt over the previous two days could be put to the test" she said.

Funded by individual donors (including a large donation from one donor), the MJD Foundation teamed up with Motivation Australia, consultants to the World Health Organisation, and the NT Government.