Mater Physiotherapy team increases support to the Emergency Department

16/Feb/2021     Health

Did you know the Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department has commenced a six-month trial of having a dedicated physiotherapist in the department increasing from five to seven-days-a-week?

The trial has been implemented in response to an increasing number of patients being referred from the Emergency Department to the weekend physiotherapy service.

Acting Director of Physiotherapy Michelle Grant explained the dedicated physiotherapist will assist with management of acute injuries across a variety of presentations including musculoskeletal, vestibular and respiratory conditions.

“The most common presentations the Physiotherapist would assist with are patients with uncomplicated fractures, ligament injuries, and acute neck, back, hip or knee pain.  We also have an active role in the management of elderly patients who have fallen and require mobility assessments and falls prevention rehabilitation,” Michelle said.

“A physiotherapist can also provide relief to patients presenting with dizziness due to problems with their inner ear function like “BPPV” and those with respiratory conditions such as chest infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

Physiotherapy Team Lead Stephen Erceg explains having a dedicated physiotherapist in the Emergency Department has many benefits for both patients and staff.

“The expertise that physiotherapists provide contributes to the holistic care of patients, as they are able to provide clinical advice in specialised areas and facilitate appropriate referrals to relevant services. The sooner a patient can be assessed and treated by the physiotherapist the sooner that their recovery begins,” Stephen said. 

“By managing appropriate patients, the physiotherapist service will decrease the workload on doctors and nurses in the emergency department. Physiotherapists can assess mobility, provide rehabilitation plans, assist with discharge planning and organise follow up as required.”

Senior Physiotherapist Dilani Mendis said she hopes the service will not only have positive impacts on the Emergency Department but on other departments within the hospital as well. 

“We expect by having early intervention with patients we will decrease patient length of stay in our emergency department and short stay unit. We could also potentially prevent hospital admissions,” Dilani said.

“This will most likely have a positive flow-on effect for the physiotherapists working over the weekend in our dedicated inpatient service as they will be able to spend more time with patients on the wards.”

The team are excited to see the role of a dedicated physiotherapist in the Emergency Department Physiotherapist growing in profile and significance as this will continue to help patients access emergency medical services quickly and safely.

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