Physiotherapists provide important support services to people living with disability. They are highly trained to manage acute, non-acute, life-long and life-limiting conditions. Physiotherapists build on their client’s strengths and address impairments or problems relating to activity and participation within the relevant environment. For a person living with disability, access to appropriate physiotherapy services positively impacts their personal, social and educational success and their potential to fulfil their goals.
We believe all people living with disability should have access to appropriate high-quality physiotherapy services, when and where they need it. Accessible, person-centred physiotherapy services—tailored to individual needs and available within a variety of settings in the local community—are important in optimising function and community participation.
As such, we believe physiotherapists should be appropriately recognised for their unique skills and wide scope of practice.
The steps we are taking
Given the specialised and highly skilled services physiotherapists provide in the community, it is important people with disability have access to treatment when and how they need it. We want to strengthen the capacity for people with disability to access mainstream physiotherapy services and ensure they have choice and control over the care they receive.
To ensure NDIS participants are able to receive disability services when and how they need it, the APA is:
- advocating on behalf of physiotherapists to government to ensure physiotherapists are supported to do their role - the APA has met with government representatives to discuss key issues relating to physiotherapists working in the NDIS and providing disability support
- advocating on behalf of physiotherapists to the NDIA to ensure physiotherapists are supported to do their role and educating the NDIA on the important role of physiotherapy in supporting people with disability - the APA has relationships with NDIA staff to advocate and promoting the importance and scope of physiotherapy to support people with disability
- supporting physiotherapists to work with the NDIA and understand how the funding model works and to inform about changes to the scheme - providing information through social media, email communications and LinkedIn with up to date information and relevant resources for physiotherapists working with people with disability
- educating the general public on the value of physiotherapy for people with disability - showing images of people with disability in our National Advertising Campaign—Choose Physio - promoting the role of physiotherapy for people with disability through social media
- executing a Department of Social Services grant to develop an awareness campaign and professional development course to support physiotherapists to feel confident and inspired to work with people with disabilities, and to know when and to whom to refer on
- collaborating with other peak bodies to develop mutually beneficial education content and advocacy materials
How this helps
The promotion of physiotherapists’ skills and knowledge to consumers, government and the NDIA will increase understanding of the role physiotherapy plays in supporting people with disability. It is hoped that in turn, greater awareness will result in:
- improved choice and control participants have in seeking physiotherapy services, with more physiotherapists offering NDIA services
- appropriate remuneration and recognition for physiotherapists providing disability services
- increased recognition of the physiotherapy scope of practice by the NDIA
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support to people with disability, their families and carers. It is jointly governed and funded by the Australian, State and Territory governments. The NDIS was initially introduced with a launch on 1 July 2013. Roll out of the NDIS began in July 2016 and has been progressively rolled out on a State by State basis. The roll-out is due to be completed in 2020.
What you need to know
For more information about the NDIS, and for a guide to register with the Scheme, see the following tools and resources: