A day to celebrate physios


Every year on 8 September World Physical Therapy Day (WPTD) is celebrated, and this year the Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the Board) is highlighting the role physiotherapists play in contributing to the global health team.

The Board celebrates this day to recognise the critical contribution Australia’s 33,498 registered physiotherapists make towards patients receiving safe and ethical care that helps keep people healthy, active, mobile and independent—what the World Confederation for Physical Therapy calls the ‘movement for health’ campaign.

The key focus for this year is chronic pain, which is a significant global health burden. Chronic pain causes more disability than any other condition. Physical therapy and physiotherapists can help people with chronic pain develop the skills they need to manage and take control of their condition, increase their activity and improve their quality of life.

Board chair Kim Gibson believes one of the ways physiotherapists do this is by complying with the Board’s code of conduct and standards, which establish the requirements for physiotherapists to be registered to practise competently and safely in Australia, and work closely with a wide range of other practitioners, to benefit patient care.

‘Physiotherapists who provide assessment and treatment to patients with chronic pain have to be properly trained, qualified and competent to do so. Competence means they can understand an individual’s health and social needs. It is also about having the expertise, clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.

‘Physiotherapists must work from an evidence-base and be an active part of the integrated multi-professional team who work together to provide patient care. Their care can help patients get a better quality of life by helping patients manage and live with what can often be quite complex conditions,’ she said.

Kim added that there are globally significant programs of work underway, relevant to health practitioner regulation, bringing physiotherapists to the forefront of patient care.

‘As well as WPTD, other initiatives such as the World Health Organization’s Rehabilitation 2030 initiative, looking at the unmet need of rehabilitation, are also demonstrating the important role physiotherapists play in providing quality safe care to patients. Many Australians have been helped to overcome conditions, including chronic pain, without going to hospital, thanks to specialist care by rehabilitation teams that include physiotherapists.

‘We are asking practitioners to get informed and respond to the Rehab 2030 call to action to strengthen and extend rehabilitation in countries worldwide, including developing a strong multidisciplinary workforce,’ Kim added.

Patients expect that every time they see a physiotherapist 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.

The Board also publishes codes and guidelines for physiotherapists and maintains the national register of practitioners which can be accessed at physiotherapyboard.gov.au, along with the most up-to-date information for practitioners.

Follow the conversation on social media, using the #WorldPTDay hashtag. Materials for #WorldPTDay are available at wcpt.org/wptday. All APA members can access member exclusive World Physiotherapy Day Toolkit by visiting world physiotherapy day campaign website. 


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