Physiotherapy students immersed in Remote Area Practice

Physiotherapy Presentation

Postgraduate physiotherapy students from Flinders University have just completed an inaugural student-led placement at Acacia Hill School as part of a project supported by the NT PHN Future Workforce Program.

Project Lead Annie Farthing who is based at the Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs said the placement aims were to:

  • Deliver specialist paediatric physiotherapy services in an underserved area
  • Immerse final year students in a complex practice area and expose students to the challenges and rewards of remote area practice
  • Encourage physiotherapy students to consider returning to take up career opportunities as graduates.

Acacia Hill School supports students with disabilities and special education needs. The four-week placement by the Master of Physiotherapy students allowed an intensive period of assessment, treatment and planning for the school students.

Glenn Irvine from Acacia Hill School shared some highlights of the project.

“The students established a range of therapy activities, fitted or adjusted equipment to meet the needs of our students, discussed home therapy with carers, created programs for individual students, and trained staff in manual handling techniques for the safe transfer of students.

“Outstanding results from the visit include a student who increased his walking tolerance from 50 to 200 metres, two students who more often use walking equipment, rather than wheelchairs, and the participation by senior sensory students in a daily exercise therapy session.

“Hopefully the physiotherapy program can be expanded to include occupational and speech therapy students”, said Glenn.

Jessica Kellett felt this was the best student placement she has experienced and understands the impact that this placement had on the school students. “If we weren’t here, this therapy would not have happened”, said Jessica.

Annie Farthing also highlighted the contribution of many agencies involved saying, “This was a wonderful collaboration between the staff at Acacia Hill School, the generosity of the therapists from the Children’s Development Team (NT Department of Health), the dedication of Anne Bent who returned to Alice Springs to supervise the students, the courage and support from Tracey Radford and others at the Flinders University Physiotherapy program and the financial support of the NT PHN”.

A second group of Master of Physiotherapy students will visit the school at the end of Term 3 this year with a comprehensive evaluation to follow.

Read about other placement experiences with Flinders NT

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Centre for Remote Health (CRH) Flinders NT Remote and Rural Interprofessional Placement Learning NT (RIPPL NT) Student Placements