Community, Health Services,

Torch passed in paediatric rehabilitation at LRH

There has been a passing of the torch in the area of paediatric rehabilitation at Latrobe Regional Health in recent weeks with the retirement of Dr Barry Rawicki, something of a pioneer in paediatric rehabilitation medicine.

“Dr. Barry has dedicated well over a decade of service to our community and played a pivotal role in establishing the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS) for the Gippsland region,” colleague and Paediatric Neuropsychologist, Dr Helen Jeges said.

The VPRS Gippsland team comprises doctors, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, social worker and other allied health professionals to provide what’s called ‘wrap around’ services for eligible patients in Gippsland.

“We are a multi-disciplinary team that works with children and young people who might be experiencing cerebral palsy, stroke, epilepsy, brain tumours or acquired brain injury following an incident such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall,” Dr Jeges said.

The development of this specialist clinic has been a 20-year project for Dr Rawicki, who noted that while children in the city had access to this type of service in the 1990s, children in regional areas were either more likely to miss out or be faced with lengthy travel demands.

As well as providing specialist rehabilitation care to patients, Dr Rawicki has also worked to build the capacity of the LRH-based team to provide a range of services and specialities to local families.

“Dr Barry’s generosity in sharing his knowledge and expertise with LRH colleagues has been instrumental in fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous learning within our hospital. His commitment to professional growth and his willingness to mentor others have left an enduring impact on the VPRS team in Gippsland.

“Having the range of skills and knowledge in the team means that we can provide in depth care and work with families to come up with interventions for the patient and improve quality of life and functioning,” Dr Jeges said.

The LRH-based service provides care to patients and their families who live within the Gippsland region. This includes hospital-based care as well as outreach to the family’s home where needed.

As Dr Rawicki steps into retirement, the LRH team will welcome Dr Adam Scheinberg as Consultant Paediatrician who is also the VPRS State-wide Medical Director.

Dr Scheinberg is returning to the Gippsland region having worked with the team more than 10 years ago.

“It’s wonderful to be back with the team having started in 2009 and then Professor Rawicki taking the medical support of the service but it’s really fantastic to be back here working with such a wonderful team and group of families,” he said.

Referrals to the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service can be made through the VPRS website

Back Row – L-R Bio Medical Student Tayla Green, VPRS Regional Coordinator Monique MacDougall, Allied Health Assistant Emily Cuckson-Bell.
Front row – L-R Paediatric Neuropsychologist Dr Helen Jeges, Consultant Paediatrician Dr Adam Scheinberg, Social Worker Margaret Batley, Speech Pathologist Fiona Derham, Physiotherapist Heli Shah.