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8 things your aged care physiotherapist should be doing

Working in aged care requires a physiotherapist to take the time to first understand and then meet the needs of all clients – this includes the residents, the organisation, and every staff member. The following are just some things that all aged care physiotherapists should be doing:

  1. Using pain management sessions as an opportunity to optimise mobility, dexterity and rehabilitation (not just massaging!)
  2. Maintaining a transparent assessment/review schedule to regularly evaluate the outcomes of interventions for all residents
  3. Using a suite of evidence based assessment tools (e.g. physical mobility scale)
  4. Keeping detailed documentation of site processes to ensure consistency in times of annual leave, sickness, etc
  5. Providing a service model where every resident in the facility who needs it can receive complex pain management interventions
  6. Calculating exactly how many treatment hours are required to maintain commitments… and how many base hours this leaves for assessments/reviews/referrals
  7. Maintaining a running list of all residents that have had a complex pain management claim made
  8. Ensuring that every resident they’re treating has had their complex pain management claim actually made

Recently a facility requested an audit as there was no transparency around how their service was being delivered. Cross-referencing the different sources of information, there was:

  • A revenue increase of $35K p.a. available for interventions that were already occurring
  • A validation risk of $22K p.a. for residents who had a directive in place but weren’t receiving the interventions as claimed
  • A mathematical impossibility to carry out all complex pain management directives in the rostered time

Aged care physiotherapy should be structured in a way that improves resident pain management and mobility outcomes in a way that’s consistent, transparent and supports facilities’ accreditation and funding needs.

Considering the ACFI Changes in 2016, an ACFI Complex Health Care Audit can increase care for the residents that need it. By structuring services appropriately, all residents can receive the interventions they need in a way that supports accreditation, meets funding requirements, and is cost-effective for both resident and facility.


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