Bristol Centre for Enablement on TV tonight

Friday, 23 June 2017

Bristol Centre for Enablement is set to feature in a documentary about advances in prosthetics this evening.

Retired paralympic swimmer Kate Grey visited the team at the Cribbs Causeway centre to discuss the options available for a new prosthetic limb that will help now she has taken up cycling.

Bristol Centre for Enablement on BBC

Prosthetics and orthotics transferred to the Cribbs Causeway centre from Southmead Hospital in 2014. The new facilities are co-located with wheelchair services, communication aids and electronic assistive technology service.

The documentary on BBC One in the West at 7.30pm today (Friday, June 23), Invented in...the West Country looks at the early prosthetic limbs created by a Chard bootmaker 150 years ago. It also explores other local inventions that have played their part in supporting amputees, including the bionic hands being created in UWE Bristol's Robotics Laboratory by Open Bionics - the team that is also working in partnership with Bristol Centre for Enablement on a trial of 3D-printed bionic hands for children.

Bristol Centre for Enablement provides specialist services.

Prosthetist Alan Gordon, who is based at the centre, is due to feature in the documentary.

He explains what his job involves: “We design and create prosthetics for patients, to try and get them to walking or using their limb to replace a missing body part.

“Our role includes assessing a patient to make sure they are suitable for a prosthesis to start with and to make sure we provide the suitable one for them.”

Prosthetists capture the shape and measurements of the limb, choosing what's most suitable for them before coming up with a prescription for patients, he said.

“We look at lots of different things to help decide the limb and socket type. We look at how active they are, what hobbies they have, their occupation and what they did prior to having their amputation and what their goals are. We look at people holistically.”

Alan said the prosthetists work closely with other members of the team, which includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counselling, rehabilitation consultants, technicians and assistant practitioners, working together to help patients prepare for their new limb and adapt to life once they have it.

He said: “From my perspective it is a very satisfying and rewarding to do I think getting people on their feet and active for as much and as long as possible is a great thing.”