03 Sep 2018
The Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the Board) has joined the Australian Physiotherapy Council (the Council) to encourage registered physiotherapists to take care of their own health and wellbeing, as part of World Physical Therapy Day.
Australia’s 31,995 registered physiotherapists make an important and varied contribution to health services accessed by the Australian community, and they do this best by also maintaining their own health and wellbeing.
World Physical Therapy Day is an international day of significance held on 8 September every year. This year, the suggested campaign message is ‘physical therapy and mental health’, highlighting the important role that physical therapy and physical activity have in maintaining your mental health.
The joint call aims to highlight the crucial role that physiotherapists play in keeping the community well, mobile and independent. However, the day is also an opportunity to share regulatory messages about the profession and send an important message to practitioners to look after themselves.
‘World Physical Therapy Day has an important focus on how physiotherapists support patients and this year it looks at mental health. Building on this we wanted to also focus on the physiotherapist themselves. A practitioner’s health and wellbeing is more than just about their physical wellbeing. It includes their social, emotional and cultural wellbeing,’ said Board Chair Charles Flynn.
‘Most registered physiotherapists do the right thing and ask for help when their health and wellbeing needs some support to get back on track. It is important to take care of yourself and seek help and support when you need it. Being able to seek help is so important when you are delivering care to patients,’ Mr Flynn said.
World Physical Therapy Day can also apply to registered physiotherapists including, that exercise is an evidence-based treatment for depression and the benefits of physical activity has in protecting against the emergence of depression.
‘Our advice to practitioners is to make sure you maintain a healthy work/life balance. This is in your best interests and it is also in the best interests of your patients. We would advise you to enjoy the success of working with patients and seeing great outcomes for them as a result of your care. Making sure you meet your regulatory obligations will help you do that, while providing quality and safe care to the public,’ Mr Flynn added.
‘We are increasingly seeing the effects of not prioritising mental health in the workplace. What was once (erroneously) perceived as a tangential “issue” affecting very few, is now emerging as one of the greatest workforce and human challenges of our time,’ said Council CEO Anton Barnett-Harris.
‘And it’s for this reason that we are championing the holistic health of physiotherapists as part of World Physical Therapy Day. For physiotherapists who make such a profound difference in their patients’ lives, it’s essential that they too are afforded the best of care as well as explicit encouragement to seek support to maintain their emotional, as well as physical wellbeing,’ said Mr Barnett-Harris.
Patients expect that every time they see a physiotherapist that their practitioner is adhering to their obligations under the National Law . This means they can be safe in the knowledge that their practitioner will put their best interests first.
To enable this, the Board sets the standards that establish the requirements for physiotherapists to be registered to practise competently and safely in Australia.
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