Latest News 21 December 2020 | Wednesday is Poi Day on Ward 23.
Every week patients on Middlemore Hospital’s adult neurological rehabilitation ward join Spinpoi instructor Joanne Paton for a session of Maaori performance art.
The practice is known to improve grip strength, balance and attention and is a very accessible activity, Ms Paton, a Rehabilitation Assistant, says.
“It requires modest resources but can deliver effective rehab to a large number of people at once, helping to maximise delivery of rehab time,” Ms Paton says, noting the majority of patients offered poi are in rehabilitation from stroke.
“In poi we can focus a lot on upper limbs. Poi moves can always be scaled up to be harder or more complex, easy for those very impaired but also can be challenging for those higher functioning,” she says.
Poi sessions are usually full of smiles and humour to the background of poi waiata, or specific songs for poi.
“It's wonderful seeing the progress people make in poi as the weeks pass, and thereis lots singing and laughter and support for each other as people achieve new things. For many, it's the first (safe) opportunity in their lives to do something they've seen practiced or performed by others.”
According to the website, Spinpoi, it is generally believed that poi was used by Maaori men to train strength and flexibility and by Maaori women as a form of entertainment.
These days the practice is still entertaining and functional.
She says patients generally love the class, asking when they can do it again, and encouraging others on the ward to join up
The programme has been going in wards 23 and 24 for a year now.
Ms Paton makes the poi herself with help from various whaanau members. She aims to support other health workers to champion the use of poi in their ward or hospital, focussing specifically on effective formats for stroke rehabilitation.