08 Sep 2022
What are some new ways patients are accessing physiotherapy and what are the potential benefits for the wider health system? How is the role of physiotherapists expanding in relation to preventative care and chronic disease management?
In this episode of Taking care, host Tash Miles explores the broad and varied work of physiotherapists in different settings and learns about innovations in remote and self-managed care. As we celebrate World Physiotherapy Day on 8 September, our guests also discuss the flow-on benefits of preventative care for the wider health system.
Director of the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine at the University of Melbourne, Professor Kim Bennell said physiotherapists had an important role to play in educating and empowering patients to improve their lives.
‘It’s really important for physiotherapists to ensure they’re giving the right message in the right way to help empower patients,’ she said, adding that patients often responded better to positive, hopeful messaging about treatment than to typical biomedical language.
‘It’s not just about the information provided, but also the language that’s used.’
Cherie Hearn is a member of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia and Director of Physiotherapy at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
She said physiotherapists were playing an increasing role in preventative healthcare and chronic disease management, including by creating technology to help patients self-manage their conditions.
‘You can use technology to give you feedback, to track what you are doing, to remind you. All of that helps you self-manage,’ she said.
Dr Rachel Nelligan is a clinical physiotherapist and research fellow at the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine.
She said physiotherapy could improve patients’ general health and wellbeing.
‘The treatments – exercise, weight loss, physical activity – are lifestyle treatments that can benefit a whole range of conditions, such as heart health, other types of arthritis, mental health and obesity,’ she said.
Ms Hearn said that COVID-19 had in some ways helped raise awareness of the importance of staying active, to help prevent and alleviate a range of conditions.
‘I think the message about prevention is getting through and people are trying to be active. With the pandemic it made people think “I actually have to get out and exercise” she said.
Listen to the full episode here.
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