Gillian Quinn


Gillian Quinn, BSc (Physiotherapy), MISCP. PhD candidate.

I am currently in the final year of my PhD programme studying the area of falls in MS. The main aim of my research is to determine how best to identify fallers using a simple falls risk tool that can be applied to an everyday clinic setting. It is important to identify the risk of falls early so that people can be referred for falls prevention interventions when they can be of most benefit to them. Recruitment for this study is now closed, data was collected from November 2014 until June 2016, data analysis was carried out during 2017 and this year has mainly involved paper writing and dissemination of research findings. The main findings from my research indicate that those with a history of falls, with a problem with bladder control, with no visual problems and with a slower walking speed as measured on the Timed Up and Go are at a greater risk of falls. We also found a relationship between having difficulty doing two things at once and risk of falls.  


In relation to my physiotherapy background I graduated from TCD in 2005 and have over 12 years clinical experience working with various populations and specifically in the area of neurology for the past 8 years. I am currently the senior physiotherapist with the neurology department in St. Vincent’s University hospital in Dublin, which is a busy acute hospital with both inpatient and outpatient services. Approximately one third of my patient caseload is people with MS.  


I am an active member of the ISCP (Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists), CPNG (Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology and Gerontology) and PIMS (Physiotherapists with an interest in MS). I was the therapy lead on the MS group involved in developing the MS section of the national clinical programme for neurology and had various meetings with a specialist advisory group to gather information to feed back to the national programme. 


I have always been interested in the area of clinical research since my undergraduate days and have been involved in various audits and small research projects as part of my clinical work over the past few years. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the MS Research team in UL and have had the opportunity to build close links with other researchers and international organisations throughout my PhD programme. Over the past couple of years, I have had posters and oral presentations discussing my research findings at various conferences both within Ireland and on an international level, including a large rehab MS conference in Barcelona (2017) and Amsterdam (2018) called RIMS (Rehabilitation in MS). It is important to share research findings with researchers and clinicians from other countries in order to get feedback on certain ideas and to improve the quality of care in various different regions. This past year I have also had two papers published on the falls research I am doing and have another paper accepted for publication. The links to the papers and conference abstracts can be found on my research profile here- https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gillian_Quinn


An average day for me is variable, as I do research 2 days a week and clinical work 3 days a week. My research days currently involve mainly writing as data collection is complete, reading and reviewing literature, liaison via phone or email with other research colleagues and team meetings in UL. My clinical days involve patient assessment and treatment, meetings with colleagues and other members of the multi-disciplinary team, attending in-service training and journal clubs, liaising with families and carers and providing training support to more junior members of staff and undergraduate students.