What Is A Physiotherapist’s Scope Of Practice?
Physiotherapy is an important healthcare option that can help patients with a broad array of concerns using a variety of evidence-based methods and techniques. The professionals who deliver this form of care, physiotherapists, must be qualified and registered to practise within Australia to ensure safe and proficient practice.
To facilitate a clear understanding for patients, teaching facilities and practitioners, education and professional development standards have been developed by relevant boards. These are easily accessed online or on request and demonstrate expectations and physiotherapists’ scope of practice.
All health professionals must follow strict qualifications and professional development guidelines, and this includes physiotherapists. As a patient, it is valuable to understand physio’s scope of practice to ensure you are receiving safe and beneficial care.
What Is A Scope Of Practice?
Professional competence, legislation, regulations, and workplace safeguards are the foundations of a health professional’s scope of practice. These give physios the tools to know what is expected of them and identifies the boundaries of their care. This includes the processes, procedures, and actions that a practitioner can perform, which develop from education, experience, and professional development. Remaining within their scope of practice means that physios can provide productive care that keeps their patients, themselves, and other health professionals and staff members safe.
What Qualifications Does A Physiotherapist In Australia Require?
In Australia, a person wishing to be a physiotherapist must successfully complete a bachelor, masters, or professional doctorate program, which includes supervised clinical practice components. Once qualified, physios must be registered through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) via the National Physiotherapy Board of Australia, and complete ongoing professional development as members of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.
The Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC) assesses qualifications and the ability of physios who trained outside of Australia to practise under the General Skilled Migration (GSM). All physiotherapists must be approved for fitness to practise, which involves criminal history checks and good standing verifications, and provide evidence that they meet recency of practice standards.
What Can You Expect From A Physiotherapist?
When a physiotherapist is providing you care, you are at liberty to check with them that they are sufficiently qualified and registered. You can also ask them questions as they work with you whenever you are unsure. These may include examples such as:
- Have you studied and practised this technique to the expected competency level?
- Have you kept up to date with current advancements and approaches regarding this technique?
- Is this setting appropriate and safe for this technique?
- Are you using correct and safe equipment for this technique?
Physiotherapists are passionate and dedicated individuals who are committed to looking after their patients, delivering high quality care, reviewing their capabilities and responsibilities, and taking steps to improve their professional abilities. As a patient, you can expect physios to work within their scope of practice and can ask them to explain anything they are doing.
What Does A Physiotherapist Do?
Physiotherapists can work with people of all ages to improve pain, functionality, mobility, and quality of life by focusing on the human body’s structure and movement. They do this through assessment, diagnosis, development of a treatment plan, and provision of relevant care. Physiotherapists often function as part of a multidisciplinary health team.
A treatment plan may involve care such as:
- Manual therapy.
- Ultrasound therapy.
- Provision of aids and supports.
- Exercise prescription and supervision
- Lifestyle modification advice.
- Health and injury prevention education.
Issues that physios target may develop from medical conditions, injuries, or general wear and tear. These may involve concerns such as:
- Neck and back pain due to poor posture or prolonged sitting.
- Sports injuries, such as sprains and ligament tears.
- Injury prevention.
- Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and neurological illnesses.
- Post-surgery recovery.
Physiotherapists can deliver their care in a variety of settings. These can include:
- Private practices.
- Residential aged care homes.
- Sporting organisations.
- Community programs.
- Early intervention programs.
Physiotherapists Work Within Their Scope Of Practice To Provide Quality Care
Physiotherapy can allow patients to find comfort, achieve better mobility and function, and continue to take part in the activities they love and need to do. It can be a highly beneficial factor in maintaining and improving health and overall wellbeing. To ensure that this care is provided in the most safe and advantageous way, physios must work within the limits of their scope of practice.
If this is not done, it may result in subpar care or unwanted results and consequences. If a physiotherapist is found to be working outside of their scope of practice, relevant reports can be lodged, investigations will be carried out, and any necessary action will be taken.
At Muscle Joint Bone, our team of physios are highly qualified and experienced, and frequently refresh our competencies, skills, and knowledge. We are dedicated to assisting our patients and look forward to helping you reach your goals.