Featured News JCU Physio Clinic now offers telehealth

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Tue, 7 Apr 2020

JCU Physio Clinic now offers telehealth

Alexandra demonstrates a stretch by crossing her arm over her body, on the screen, Sarah does the same thing
Final-year physiotherapy student Alexandra Selvarajah conducts a trial telehealth consultation with fellow student Sarah Hesp. Photo: Bethany Keats, JCU Media.

The JCU Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Clinic is now offering physiotherapy telehealth, allowing patients to receive assessment and advice without leaving their homes.

The clinic provides final-year Bachelor of Physiotherapy students with the compulsory practical experience needed to attain registration as a physiotherapist, but the current pandemic means they’ve had to adapt their current services.

Clinic manager Dr Helen Land said telehealth is a way of providing physiotherapy services to people who are in isolation, quarantine, or who are choosing to avoid leaving the house.

“COVID-19 has placed an added level of complexity and concern for patient care,” she said. “We decided that physiotherapy telehealth will allow us to continue to provide musculoskeletal services to those more at-risk members of the community.”

The telehealth option also helps to ensure students complete their compulsory hours required to graduate.

“Establishing a telehealth option is about finding innovative ways to ensure all students complete these compulsory hours ensuring their graduation, scheduled for this year, is not delayed,” she said.

“To assist the students to gain this necessary experience, all telehealth services are being conducted free of charge and will have a final-year student and a registered, experienced physiotherapist present at all times.”

Final-year physiotherapy student Camille Hansen said the new delivery format will help them to expand their skills during this difficult time.

“Telehealth gives us an opportunity to be creative in our interactions with our patients and how we deliver healthcare,” she said.

Ms Hansen says the experience will also be beneficial for life after the pandemic for treating rural and remote patients.

“Working with telehealth will help me improve the accessibility of physiotherapy in rural communities,”  she said. “This will limit the burden on patients who otherwise have to travel in excess of 100km per appointment.”

The telehealth service can be accessed by computer, tablet or phone using Zoom. People don’t need to have the program on their own devices as the clinic will send them a link.

“The physio students will ask questions about your current condition and will ask you to perform specific actions so they can see how you move,” Dr Land said.

“This will help the physio student identify the factors contributing to your pain and they will then be able to provide you with advice and exercises, including a detailed program to follow.”

She said people experiencing musculoskeletal discomfort should seek treatment early.

“Stress is known to contribute to painful conditions,” she said. “Many people in the community are currently experiencing neck, back, arm, or leg pain due to their altered work and home environment. They should not let these pains linger as they may worsen over the coming weeks and potentially limit their ability to return to their normal work and home activities.

“People should book in for a consultation sooner rather than later,” Dr Land said.

As a healthcare provider, the clinic remains open for face-to-face consultations, in line with official health guidelines on social distancing.

Book your face-to-face or telehealth consultation by telephoning 4781 4495. Please allow a minimum of one hour for your appointment. Telehealth consultations are free of charge and face-to-face consultations are $12.


Helen Land

Musculoskeletal Clinic Manager