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Celebrating 15 years of physiotherapy in Franschhoek

Claire Horn and Associates

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The Claire Horn Physiotherapy team: Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot, Tracy Prowse and Alishia Jafthas.

Claire Horn and Associates Physiotherapy is celebrating fifteen years of “Physiotherapy in Franschhoek” this year. We are now 4 physiotherapists – Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot and Tracy Prowse – and have 3 treatment sites: Franschhoek, Pearl Valley and Bridge House School. Alishia Jafthas, well known to many of you, is our office manager and handles the phone, accounts and all of us!!

Claire Horn Physiotherapy was founded in 2002. The practice started the little room at the back of the old pharmacy. It was a solo operation, back then, but Franschhoek was packed with many surprises. The first, that there were so many people living in this little town and the second, the wonderful variety of musculoskeletal complexities!

We had a celebration at our “new” treatment rooms, 48 Artisan Village, on 15 November 2016 and I wanted to write a note to the Tatler to say ‘Thank You’, to the diverse, interesting and engaging people of the Franschhoek Valley.

What a beautiful valley to work in; what a treat the people are, and what a pleasure it is to serve this community. It is a privilege to come into contact with so many people from so many walks of life with so many different life experiences, journeys and stories. Real life stories – my best! I don’t like fantasy – reality does it for me.

I have heard the most exciting personal experiences, whether it was simply the story of an injury (how it happened – believe me there are some exceptional ones!) or an experience of their past lives, from recent dream pursuing journeys, to experiences of WWII. Extraordinary stories from the most extraordinary people.

I am often asked to tell my “story” or to explain it – so, I thought I would do just that for this article. In subsequent ones we will introduce the entire team.  Each one has a story, an area of expertise and special interest in the field of physiotherapy. We work together as a team although each one takes full responsibility for their clients concerns.

The joke between me and my clients is that moving to Franschhoek and starting this little physio business was the most underestimated decision of my life. Apart, perhaps, from having three children! (Not forgetting 3 dogs, a few guinea pigs and rabbits too – and now the chickens). The business of family living never ceases to amaze me! When Rob (my dear husband and so much more) and I moved to Franschhoek in 2001 it was my turn to follow him.  It was after all his brilliant choice to take up a position at Bridge House School. We returned after nearly ten years away (Rob following me). We worked and studied in the USA and travelled as much as possible before coming “home” – to South Africa.

Rob and I lived in Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, and finally we landed in Oakland, California. The time in the USA was a fabulous learning experience; professionally and personally.

In California, I pursued advanced training in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy via a fulltime, year-long residency program. No programmes like this exist in South Africa. It was definitely the most challenging year of my professional life. Following on, I completed a Masters Degree in Health Sciences through Pacific University in Oregon. This led to an examination process to qualify me as a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist by the American Physical Therapy Association.  In addition I was accepted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. Subsequently, I have completed a post professional “transitional” Doctor of Physical Therapy through the University of Montana. There is currently no recognised path to specialisation for physiotherapists in South Africa. Hopefully, one day we can change that, and the skills of physiotherapists in their specific fields of interest and expertise, such as pain and injury management, musculoskeletal diagnosis, and rehabilitation can be more fully understood and recognised as a primary need, both by medical practitioners and medical insurers.

I am passionate about the role of physiotherapists as primary care providers for musculoskeletal dysfunction, optimal health and well-being. As a team, we strive to deliver an excellent service to the community of Franschhoek in order to fulfil that role.

However, the main component of a physiotherapy practice are the clients. Thank you again for your support over the years. Thank you to our local doctors and our orthopaedic surgeons for their referrals and insight into complex situations and conditions. It is a privilege to work with you all and it is a pleasure to serve the community.

Although we’re into February already, may I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the 2017. The physios can be found at Claire Horn and Associates, 48 Artisan Village. We look forward to serving you this year and many more to come!

Claire Horn