Working life: Sheena Smith, Clinical specialist physiotherapist, Beacon Hospital

Sheena Smith

The in-patient therapy team, which I head up, meets in the orthopaedic gym, on the orthopaedic wards. 

With our in- patient physiotherapists, occupational therapist and therapy assistants, we discuss patient cases and plan for the day and week ahead. 

We also discuss scheduling the home visits that form the backbone of our unique supported discharge programme (SDP). We are the first hospital in the country to offer home support to total hip replacement patients.


I head onto the ward for the handover from nursing staff and we get started with patients ready for post-operative rehab. I divvy them up between staff, taking responsibility myself for those who will be on the SDP. 

We discuss post-op goals and the timetabling of home visits which ultimately should spare the patient from going into a convalescent care home. Patients receive four visits, free of charge, within a week of leaving hospital.


I visit a patient scheduled for a pre-op education session. We talk about their upcoming joint replacement surgery and what they can expect in the aftermath and where they will be going following discharge. If they are a candidate for home visits, we can start planning their SDP.


We break for lunch at the same time as patients in order to maximise our day.


I deliver a staff training session. As the physiotherapy lead for orthopaedics, I am intrinsically involved in service developments.


I visit the day unit - we cover day cases too such as knee arthroscopy and shoulder surgery.


I head to the main gym in our out-patient department for a “back-to-fitness” class, an initiative I helped develop and in which I’m now involved. 

It’s for joint replacement patients who returned home and return to us for follow-up physio. The hour-long classes run once a week for six weeks.


I link in with our orthopaedic surgeons to see if they have any new candidates for the SDP. To take part, patients must live within 25km of the hospital.


I live in Bray so I enjoy walks on Bray Head in the evenings. GAA is a big part of my downtime - I played with Bray Emmets


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