Better Care

Profile - paediatric physio Abi Bickley

Paediatric physiotherapist Abi Bickley always wanted to work in healthcare. Her grandmother was a midwife, her sister is a palliative care nurse and her mum is a dentist. So caring is a family affair.

After graduating in 2006, Abi’s first post as a qualified physiotherapist was at Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she spent 18 months before moving to a specialised paediatric role at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

In 2015, 12 weeks prematurely, Abi gave birth to twins. Having dedicated her professional life to supporting the development of premature children, she admits that suddenly being on the other side of the clinic demanded some adjustment.

Paediatric physio at Allens Croft CDC.
Paediatric physio Abi Bickley (right) with three-year-old Libby and mum Sarah at Allens Croft child development centre.

“That time helped enrich my skills, firstly in terms of experience, but also, perhaps more importantly, being able to empathise with many of the struggles parents of sick and premature babies endure,” remembers Abi.

“Maximising a child’s physical abilities and potential means getting to know them and how we can make a session feel like play and fun while achieving the desired therapy goal.

“That can be challenging but, ultimately, incredible fun and humbling to work with such inspirational children.”

"Wonderful care"

Abi provides continuing support and assessment to children with a range of mobility needs as they develop.

Libby was born eight weeks premature at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Scans showed she had suffered brain damage. Cerebral palsy was subsequently diagnosed.

Mum Sarah said: “Without the wonderful care we received on the neonatal unit, we wouldn't have had the early brain scans that identified the damage which meant she received her therapy intervention early - from four months old.”

Libby’s care is delivered at Allens Croft Child Development Centre from a multidisciplinary team including paediatricians, orthotists and paediatric physiotherapists. And they say keeping Libby's care in familiar and friendly surroundings has been invaluable.

“As a result, Libby is doing very well, and has a wonderful and very determined spirit,” said Sarah.

“She always works incredibly hard to do all of the things children of her age do."