I have worked in Aged Care for most of my career. Stepping out of university and having spent my weekend hours providing strapping and injury management on many a sporting teams sidelines I started my Physiotherapy allocation year with one goal. Simply “Get through the next 12 months”.
Having said yes to an allocation position in Liverpool, unsure of what to expect my goals were to primarily obtain some broad experience and start back at my sport – Netball and Hockey. I hadn’t stepped one foot on a Netball court in 4 years during my study.
At Liverpool I never believed I would find a passion for Aged Care Physiotherapy and also my life and career partner.
I’ve done my time in the acute care wards then further streamlining my passion to Aged Care. I have worked in Acute Aged Care, ACAT, on a MAU, in the ED as an ASET Physiotherapist and finally as a Physiotherapist Practitioner in the Emergency Department. I spent my hours meeting KPI’s, developing services, proving myself to Orthopaedic Surgeons- nope I mean their Registrars. Along the way I got married and finally got to step back on a Netball court. I learnt to play hockey and stood as a target for hockey balls (goal keeper). I managed to keep playing Netball and was selected to umpire at Under 17 and 19 national Netball titles.
Back to Physiotherapy….
Community based care has been a passion (or a frustration) of mine for a number of years. Having worked in South Western Sydney for a number of years there was just no access for people requiring home based Physiotherapy. Frustrations stemmed from a lack of options when discharging patients from acute care, emergency department presentation or rehabilitation services. We wanted to be able to provide this missing element from a patient’s recovery.
Working as a community based Physiotherapist provides both job satisfaction and some rewards. It also poses a number of challenges. This is both for as a clinician and a business owner. It is isolating. You don’t have access to lunchtime conversations, meetings after morning tea, nor do you regularly have a corridor chat with any number of different people and staff members. There can be times when you go days without a conversation without a Physiotherapist. But in our team you have access to over 80 years of clinical experience. Our clinicians have worked across a number of clinical areas – everywhere from NRL level football to Paediatrics, Spinal Cord Injury to Parkinson’s Disease. It is an honour to be in our clients home and to gain access to their lives and their surroundings. I know our team has provided simple light changing services, animal care, meal planning and of course Physiotherapy services during their time in their clients home. And this is one reason I am so proud of the team we have developed and grown.
There are times as a business owner that providing a community based Allied Health service can be a challenge. How do you meet the demands of providing award based wages, access for staff members to professional linkages, the administrative demands of over 300 clinical occasions of services in a week and everyday demands of running a business. All this whilst providing, at times, less than half the OOS compared to a “typical” musculoskeletal private practice. Sometimes we just don’t meet the brief, but it all comes back to the origins for starting the service. To provide an option for patients when discharging patients from acute care, emergency department presentation or rehabilitation services. We are providing the essential missing element from a patient’s recovery.