10 Ritas South African Therapists; Qualifications and Experience
Several times I have been asked about the background of the therapists who treated Rita in Fish Hoek; what qualifications and experience did they have?
Jenny, the nurse who assessed Rita a week after our arrival in Fish Hoek in October 2010, is English. At the time we met, she had worked in South Africa for many years helping mainly elderly and disabled patients. She told us her job at the time was roughly equivalent to that of a District Nurse and she was one of five qualified nurses managing approximately 100 carers. She was the first to tell us that, in her opinion, Rita’s negative prognosis had been a mis-diagnosis and she was in fact capable of significant recovery.
Adele, a neuro-physiotherapist, treated Rita during more than three winters. She ran her own clinic located just a ten-minute walk from where we were living in Fish Hoek.
Estie, an occupational therapist, told us she had worked for several years in both France and London, before returning to Cape Town. At the time we met her she was working full-time for an organisation helping disabled children. Working with Rita was additional to this and she came to our house for Rita’s therapy sessions. After two years, in October 2012, she apologised but said her main job was by then taking too much time to allow her to continue helping Rita.
Shona, an occupational therapist recommended by Adele, took over from Estie in 2012. Shona was self-employed and ran a home-based clinic about one mile from our home. We drove there once weekly. She had a different approach to occupational therapy; it turned out to be a bonus to have this new point of view. (This comment must not be taken as a criticism of Estie’s work).
The three therapists were all Afrikaans ladies with qualifications from the University of Cape Town. Afrikaans was their native language, but they all spoke fluent English in our presence. They all agreed with Jenny’s opinion concerning Rita’s potential for recovery and were confident in their own ability to help her. Their actions were not controlled by managers or consultants. This meant the rehabilitation program for Rita was time-unlimited and based on their own expertise as therapists; they would continue to work with Rita as long as I was happy with the progress made. (Though Adele did tell me in 2013 that she should not continue any further. So far as Adele was concerned, Rita had fully recovered from all her physical disabilities and did not need any more physiotherapy).