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Thank you Leanne for your skills and initiative!

Staff Appreciation Post: Leanne Leadbetter

At the Laura Fergusson Brain Injury Trust, we have a team of fantastic leaders who manage each of our services. Leanne Leadbetter is the service lead for our wheelchair and seating service. Leanne works with clients to establish their goals and then sources the correct equipment to minimise environmental barriers and enable them to reach their potential.

A regular day of work varies, from carrying out wheelchair and seating assessments in the Mobility Hub clinic, to working with transport and housing modifications assessors to make sure the clients wheelchair, vehicle, and house all work to suit the needs of the client. This allows the client to get out of the house, socialise, and return to regular life.

“There is a bit more science behind everything, but at the end of the day it is about making sure that the person has meaning in their life. Not just in one domain, you have to look at it holistically.”

Of course, there is also the biological side to wheelchair and seating, where Leanne works to make sure clients are sitting straight and not causing any harm by sitting incorrectly. If someone consistently sits crocked, their lung capacity can decrease as they age or skin ulcers can develop. So, sitting straight ensures they can live without causing any future medical issues.

As well as helping people live a fulfilling life, Leanne loves coming into work to be a “professional problem solver.” She says it’s all about finding outside of the box solutions to complex problems to meet client’s needs and goals. She loves finding solutions through customisation, grabbing things off of the shelf and creating something out of it.

Leanne has worked with people with spinal injuries throughout her whole career, both in hospital settings and in private practice. Through LFBIT, she has had the opportunity to develop the Mobility Hub clinic-based service where creative thinking and education of others can occur, future-proofing the skills that she has built up over her career.

There are limited training grounds for her combination of skills, so over the past two years, she has trained others in social rehab assessments, as well as wheelchair and seating with clients with complex needs. This training has resulted in a team of occupational therapists and physios who work together at the Mobility Hub.

“It’s a really good training ground, hopefully I will have passed on most of my knowledge and expertise by the time I leave for it to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence. So, the people I’ve trained will then become the trainers, that’s what I’m hoping.”

Looking to the future, Leanne is excited about the new technology that is becoming readily available to allow those in the profession to assist their client’s even more. Recently, Segway technology has been implemented into wheelchairs, and the results have been quite special. This allows a client to move around in their wheelchair by shifting their body weight, creating more mobility for those who do not have many options. “I trialled a new product with a client and it was a wow moment. It was an incredible experience for him and it was pretty cool to see. Watch this space for new ways of moving about!”