A white man wearing a navy shirt and glasses stands with his arms behind him. In the background are boxes and medical supplies

Physical therapy assistant cares for war-wounded patients

Rostyk, a physical therapy assistant with Humanity & Inclusion, is working to improve rehabilitation care in Ukraine.

When war broke out in February, Rostyk, 22, started looking for ways he could help. His university teachers reassured him that his ability to treat people would be an important contribution in this time of crisis. Rostyk, who is from Lviv, joined Humanity & Inclusion’s teams and has been working alongside physical therapists to care for war-wounded patients in western Ukraine.

“I have seen patients with burns on their whole body and patients with amputations of their fingers, toes, legs, and arms,” Rostyk explains. “One of my patients, who is about 30 years old, was injured by a mine blast.

"He has been amputated two times, once at his ankle, and once from his knee down," he adds. At first, he was doing well, but then he fell into a deep depression because he was suffering phantom pain. Painkillers and medicine weren’t helping him, but he says that physical therapy is the one thing that reduces his pain, which has been really incredible.”

Rostyk strives to improve care

Overwhelmed by increased needs, many hospitals throughout Ukraine lack sufficient staff and specialized services to care for patients with burns and amputations. Humanity & Inclusion is working alongside hospitals to reinforce their care capacity and provide theoretical and on-the-job training in specialized rehabilitation techniques.

 “In all of Ukraine, we have only a handful of physical therapists working in burns,” Rostyk says. “We have a lot of people with burn injuries, but almost no physical therapists or occupational therapists. When I was at university, I didn’t learn about physical therapy in burns. I want to bring quality physical therapy to Ukraine, and working with Humanity & Inclusion gives me more experience with international standards. I hope that I can change the sector in this country, so that Ukraine can have the best physical therapy in the world. If not me, then who? It’s that simple.”

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