People with cystic fibrosis (CF) suffer regular severe lung infections that can turn normal daily activities into difficult tasks. Jamie Wood, a current Master of Philosophy (Physiotherapy) student and sessional academic at Curtin, has spent the last six years of his career alleviating the daily impact of CF on patients and their families, through treatment and education.
Jamie completed his Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) degree at Curtin, and after enjoying the team-oriented nature of the profession, sought and gained a junior physiotherapist position at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. After a number of years there, he entered the specialist field of CF.
“The Curtin physiotherapy degree provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary to transition into the public hospital system and to work in any acute care environment,” says Jamie, who now works as the Senior Physiotherapist for Cystic Fibrosis at Sir Charles Gairdner.
Jamie is particularly interested in the specialised physiotherapy care required by adult sufferers of CF. The genetic disease is usually diagnosed in infants, and progresses throughout adolescence and adulthood. In his current role at SCGH, Jamie coordinates and delivers physiotherapy care to around 200 adult CF patients across WA.
“Working with adults with this complex chronic disease makes my role both challenging and rewarding,” he says.
Jamie recognises the importance of education in the treatment of the disease. Specialising in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, he teaches patients, families, professionals and students techniques that assist patients to clear airway secretions that are produced on a daily basis and lead to recurrent lung infections.
In 2011 he taught Western Australia’s first modern airway clearance techniques course for physiotherapists, and in 2013 became the state’s first internationally accredited airway clearance instructor.
Keen to ensure that both metropolitan and rural patients receive quality healthcare, Jamie is also involved in a project for CF patients who live in rural and regional areas. Through videoconferencing technology, patients will be able to benefit from ongoing multidisciplinary healthcare without having to travel to Perth.
Last year, Jamie earned the Rotary Allied Health Professional of the Year Award for his commitment to improving physiotherapy care for patients, and providing innovative education to physiotherapists in WA and physiotherapy students at Curtin.
In the future, Jamie plans to progress his masters degree studies toward doctoral research in the field of telehealth for adults with CF.