A rehabilitation physician with over two-decades of experience as Medical Director of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service, including inpatient and Brain Injury Community Rehabilitation Services, Dr King is currently appointed at Royal North Shore Hospital and Royal Rehab.
Dr King’s medical career includes positions at St Vincent’s and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals as well as being a past member of the Motor Accidents Council, Motor Accidents Authority of NSW and various committees of the Ministry of Health and the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Dr King’s experience includes research and teaching at undergraduate and post-graduate levels in brain injury rehabilitation.
Professor Middleton is a consultant physician with over 25 years’ clinical and research experience in the field of spinal cord injury medicine and rehabilitation. Since 2006, he has worked as a clinical director of the State Spinal Cord Injury Service at the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation providing advice and clinical leadership. Professor Middleton is also senior medical specialist for the Spinal Outreach Service. Prior to these roles, Professor Middleton held the position of medical director of the Moorong Spinal Unit at Royal Rehab. He holds an academic appointment as Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at The University of Sydney, John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health; and the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital.
Dr Browne is a senior staff specialist in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit at Royal Rehab. He has extensive experience in brain injury rehabilitation, having worked in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service since 2003. He conducts regular brain injury rehabilitation clinics in metropolitan and regional hospitals and works closely with allied health professionals within the Brain Injury Community Rehabilitation Team.
Dr Browne has a strong interest in education and frequently presents to rehabilitation medicine trainee specialists. He is also a clinical senior lecturer at the Northern Clinical School of the University of Sydney and has tutored numerous students in the philosophy and principles of rehabilitation medicine. Dr Browne has co-authored a number of papers on traumatic brain injury research topics including the study of post-traumatic amnesia, cognitive assessment.
Dr Tram Bui undertook her medicine training at the University of Sydney and completed her Fellowship with Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, graduating in 2001 with the Basmajian Prize for best overall performance in her final exams. Dr Bui has a clinical background in geriatrics, general and brain injury rehabilitation.
Dr Bui was the director of training and a senior staff specialist at Bankstown Hospital prior to moving to Royal Rehab Private Hospital. During that time, Dr Bui gained expertise in geriatric and orthopaedic rehabilitation. Dr Bui works in the Brain Injury Community Rehabilitation Team and specialises in neurological rehabilitation.
Dr Grace Leong is a rehabilitation medicine physician with sub-specialty interests in spinal cord injury and neurological rehabilitation, with expertise in bladder, bowel, sexuality, fertility, spasticity and pain management. She completed her medical degree at the University of New South Wales with honours, and a rehabilitation specialty fellowship in 2006. After completing her postgraduate training, she was the lead author in research conducted at Royal North Shore Hospital, looking at developing reproducible assessments in spinal cord injury impairment and function.
Dr Leong currently works as a senior staff specialist in spinal cord injury with the state-wide Spinal Outreach Service and is also the deputy director of Medical Services. She is a clinical lecturer at the University of Sydney and is a visiting medical officer at Royal Rehab Private Hospital and at Mount Wilga Private Hospital.
Dr Gerard Weber specialises in spinal and rehabilitation medicine and obtained a Fellowship from Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2001. Since 2002, Dr Weber has worked as a rehabilitation medicine physician in spinal services and general rehabilitation services.
Dr Weber has been a staff specialist at the Spinal Injury Unit at Royal Rehab since November 2003 and a medical director since 2006.
Dr Weber is also involved with Royal Rehab’s Spinal Outreach Service, working in rural clinics since 2009. He is currently a senior clinical lecturer at School of Medicine Sydney at the University of Notre Dame.
Dr Roxana Heriseanu is a rehabilitation medicine physician with more than 16 years’ experience who has an established practice both in the public and private sectors. She is currently a senior staff specialist in the Spinal Injury Unit at Royal Rehab, a visiting medical officer at Alwyn Private Hospital, Westmead Private Hospital, Norwest Private Hospital and Royal Rehab Private Hospital.
Dr Heriseanu’s areas of interest are spinal cord injuries rehabilitation, orthopaedic rehabilitation, spasticity management, osteoporosis prevention and treatment, geriatric reconditioning, cardiac rehabilitation, chronic pain management and multi-trauma management. Dr Heriseanu’s clinical work is enhanced by her research experience. She has participated in research projects in traumatic brain injury as a postgraduate research fellow and co-authored publications in this field.
Dr Engel is a senior staff specialist for NSW Spinal Outreach Service, senior staff specialist in rehabilitation and spinal medicine at the Prince of Wales Hospital and conjoint lecturer at the Department of Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales.
Dr Engel has represented Australia on the board of the International Spinal Cord Society as well as participated in the development of guidelines and community integration projects. Her research interests include osteoporosis after spinal cord injury (SCI), foetal outcomes of traumatic SCI during pregnancy and venous thrombosis after SCI.
Dr Sue Rutkowski has more than 40 years’ experience in treating persons with spinal cord injury. Dr Rutkowski commenced as a spinal injury registrar at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH)in 1972, and for the past 10 years as Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit RNSH.
Dr Rutkowski has a long association with Royal Rehab, commencing from the early days visiting patients in Coorabel and residents in Weemala. She was Medical Director of Moorong Spinal Unit between 1995-96 and currently is a part-time senior staff specialist with the NSW Spinal Outreach Service.
Her clinical role with the NSW Spinal Outreach Service is assisting with setting up multidisciplinary clinics in rural areas throughout NSW. Dr Rutkowski is also a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Dr Sturgess is a rehabilitation physician and fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr Sturgess specialises in spinal cord injury and general rehabilitation and works as a staff specialist with the NSW Spinal Outreach Service, as well as staff specialist roles at the Royal North Shore Hospital in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and Prince of Wales Hospital in general rehabilitation.
Dr Sturgess has a background in public health and education and is interested in preventative medicine and improving the health self-efficacy of his patients. Dr Sturgess comes from Cooma, in rural NSW, and enjoys rural clinics and telehealth clinics to improve health access for his rural clients. He is also involved in education for registrars, medical students, nursing, allied health and the general public, and is a University of New South Wales clinical mentor for medical students.
At Royal Rehab we bring you a skilled and compassionate team of multidisciplinary allied heath professionals who work collaboratively so you benefit from their combined expertise. Our rehabilitation programs are individually tailored to meet the goals of each person and draw on the most appropriate skill sets of our professionals to achieve the best outcomes for clients.
Physiotherapy is an important part of many rehabilitation programs, helping people to recover more quickly from injury or assist to better manage long term illness. Our physiotherapists use a variety of techniques, such as exercise, muscle training, massage and physical strategies to assist in your recovery.
Our physios are very experienced in treating the connection between brain, muscles and nerves, and helping you re-learn movements, so you can be physically as functional and effective as possible.
Sessions are conducted in the comfort of your home, in the community or at our onsite facilities including the gym and hydrotherapy pool. Our physiotherapists will begin with goals such as sitting, walking and balance. Ultimately, they aim to improve musculoskeletal wellbeing, reduce your risk of future injuries, give you greater mobility and flexibility, and manage and prevent ongoing pain.
Our occupational therapists will assist you with your goals to maximise functional independence in your everyday activities. Some of these tasks may include: personal care, getting out of the house and transportation, preparing food and other life skills, sleep and rest, caring for others, cognition including memory and planning, fine motor skills, and returning to work.
Our therapists will be able to recommend specific technology and equipment, modifications to your environment or build your knowledge and skills to make everyday tasks easier and improve your independence.
Sessions can be held at our Ryde facility (which incorporates a modified kitchen) or in locations in the community and in our client’s homes when appropriate.
Specialist recreational therapists are an integral part of our rehab programs. We aim to enhance, maintain and restore physical, cognitive, psychosocial and spiritual wellbeing to get you back to ‘living life to the fullest’.
Our recreational therapists will support you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to return to the things you love or explore new activities.
Our recreational therapists can also be accessed through our adaptive sport, recreation and leisure service.
Your injury or illness may affect your ability to communicate or swallow. Our skilled speech pathologists can help with issues such as: difficulty understanding or expressing thoughts using language or difficulty with reading and writing (aphasia), difficulty with pronunciation, pitch, volume, speed and coordination of speech (dysarthria), difficulty coordinating the voice, lips and tongue (apraxia), cognitive-communication difficulties and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food or liquids).
Our speech pathologists can assess your individual situation and deliver personalised, practical treatments, programs, exercises and groups to help you maximise your ability to communicate or swallow. Our speech pathologists work with you alongside your family, friends or work colleagues.
Your diet, nutritional intake and liquid intake can all be affected by your condition in a number of ways. If you have difficulty eating enough foods or drinking fluids for example, this can present problems maintaining adequate nutritional intake and hydration, leading to weight loss, fatigue, dehydration and muscle wasting. The extent of your physical activity will affect how much energy your body needs to maintain optimum health and ongoing lack of movement can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Our skilled dieticians can assist you with any dietary or nutritional issues you may have, and work closely with you and the other therapists to modify your diet, optimise your nutritional intake.
Exercise physiologists provide an important component of allied health services. They are experts in the science of exercise so they can help you improve your general health and well-being. If rehabilitation is not completed early following major trauma, illness or surgery, it can lead to a lack of fitness, strength, endurance and poor general health. This is called ‘deconditioning’ and can increase the incidence of falls, reduce mobility and increase your dependence on others.
Our exercise physiologists will create a personalised exercise program for you to keep you as fit, strong and healthy as possible as you pursue your other rehabilitation goals.
Illness or injury that permanently affects your life can be difficult to deal with emotionally. Anger, grief, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, sleeplessness, difficulty managing pain and self-esteem issues area all common concerns. Many of our clients go through periods of anxiety or depression at some point and almost everyone needs to take some time to adjust to their new situation.
Our psychologists are very experienced in helping people deal with their feelings about their condition, and can assist you to work towards acceptance and feeling positive about your life again. They can also help you better understand your injury or illness and help you regain a sense of control over your life. If you feel like you are struggling to cope emotionally with your condition, please let us know as soon as possible.
Our social workers provide support to help people adjust to the challenges which arise following injury, illness and disability. Our team will assist with your transition back into your community or engagement in relevant supports for the first time. Below are some of the specific areas in which our social workers may be able to provide support:
Considering work and study options can be an important part of an individual’s rehabilitation journey but without the right support it can be daunting. Rehabilitation Counsellors are allied health professionals with tertiary qualifications in rehabilitation counselling. They work with people experiencing disability and health conditions to assist them to achieve their personal, educational and vocational goals in life.
Royal Rehab’s Rehabilitation Counsellors sit within the In-Voc program, our specialist vocational rehabilitation service dedicated to working with individuals who have sustained a SCI. They work within a counselling framework to offer support with return to work planning for both inpatients and people living in the community.
Royal Rehab is proud to provide icare-approved case managers as part of our comprehensive service offering. This valuable service provides a holistic approach to the coordination of your treatment, rehabilitation and care following a severe injury. Working collaboratively with you and your family to improve quality of life and facilitate independence, our case management intervention is client driven and we recognise the importance of family and friends in the process. Some of the ways in which our case managers may be able to provide support include:
Our rehabilitation nursing team plays an important role in assessing and managing health issues associated with disability and illness. Adopting a wellness model of care, our skilled and compassionate team provide therapeutic interventions and advise on managing your health while living well. Our nurses can support with such areas as continence and scripting; education and strategies to manage bladder and bowel issues; skin, pressure and wound management and prevention strategies; and medication advice.
Our nurses work collaboratively with a full team of allied health therapists and rehabilitation specialists – something very few other providers can offer. It all adds up to a comprehensive and intensive commitment to helping you reach your goals sooner so you can live the life you want.