A day in the life of a Physiotherapist

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What does a Physiotherapist do? We asked Therapy Focus Physio, Jordan Hitch, to tell us about a recent day at work.

8:30am – 9:00am
I arrive at the Cockburn office to finish a Therapy Service Summary document. The document informs in the National Disability Insurance Association what I have been working on with my client over the past six months. I reflect on the activities we did working on developing his high level dynamic balance and mark his goal of walking up 5 steps safely while carrying a small box as complete.

9:00am -10:00am
I head over to South Lake Primary School, just around the corner from the office. I meet my client who is an 8 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy. As we are warming up I ask about his recent trip to Busselton with his family and he tells me about playing at the beach with his brothers. During the session, we practice getting around the school yard in his walker, working on achieving greater distances before he needs to rest. We also practice throwing objects onto the lawn and leaning forwards to collect them again as this is his favourite activity to develop his trunk strength.

10:00am – 10:30am
I hop in the car and head down to our Kwinana office. I do a lot of driving so I have always have a favourite playlist, podcast or audiobook handy. This time I chose to listen an audiobook called ‘The Science of Storytelling’ by Will Storr and think about how I can make some of my stories more engaging for different audiences.

10:30am – 11:30am
I enter the Kwinana office and say a quick hello to the admin staff and therapists. Kwinana is a busy office and I see a few of my colleagues darting into clinic rooms for speech and physiotherapy appointments. I grab one of the available desks and pull up and begin an equipment application of a client with Spina Bifida who needs a new slide board. I work away at the application for the next hour, attaching photos, assessment evidence and a quote obtained from a supplier before sending it off to our equipment team for approval. The equipment team will examine the document and send it off to our Assistive Technology Team and NDIS for consideration.

physiotherapist holds smiling boy up in the air

11:30am – 12:00pm
I quickly head into the lunch room to grab an early lunch. Today’s lunch is chicken salad, which I eat while listening to my colleague tell me a funny story about a terrible date he went on. I finish up lunch and then swing by my co-worker’s office, a psychologist who I will be doing a double session with.

12:00pm – 1:00pm
We arrive at the Kwinana Community Gym and find our client warming up on the treadmill. Our client has several mental health disorders including schizophrenia and depression. While my colleague checks in with him, I review his exercise diary and consider what changes I would like to make today to further improve his health and work towards his goal of losing weight. We work collaboratively in the gym and make improvements in several weights including leg press, tricep dips and seated rows. My client is happy with his recent gains and we conclude with a discussion of how he feels calmer and controlled for the day after he has finished exercising.

1:00pm – 1:30pm
I jump in the car and head back to the Cockburn office to my next appointment. This time I listen to the Squiz Today Podcast, which is short summary of the news in the past 24 hours.

1:30pm – 2:30pm
My next appointment is in a group home with two brothers. Both clients had a stroke many years ago and they now use powered wheelchairs to move around. I have received a handover from an occupational therapist in our therapy team who wants me to observe the clients using a standing hoist amidst concerns they needed more supportive equipment. I review the clients using the standing hoist and noted how they relied heavily on the hoist to move them from sitting to standing. After a few attempts to correct the transfer which were unsuccessful, we all speak about our options to trial different equipment. We decided to trial a full hoist which I will need to arrange with a supplier as soon as possible.

2:30pm – 3:00pm
I drive to Cockburn Arc, a community leisure centre which is also home to the Fremantle Dockers AFL team. On the way over I listen to one of my playlists.

3:30pm – 4:30pm
My next client is a 13-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy. I met his mum and his two support workers at the edge of the hydrotherapy pool. We all quickly change and head into the water. I use the stairs to enter the pool and we lower my client into the water using the ceiling hoist. When we are all safely in the pool I start the stretching programme, demonstrating to his mum and support workers how to best move his body for pain relief and to offload sore joints. At the end of the session we play games, pretending to splash one another and practise assisted kicking.

physiotherapist supports boy with cerebral palsy in pool

physiotherapist sits at bottom of slide with boy
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