A rewarding role in aged care physiotherapy
Getting to know her Customers well and seeing them achieve their health-related goals, no matter what they may be, makes Claire’s role as a KinCare Physiotherapist rewarding and special.
Claire moved from private practice to community aged care physiotherapy with KinCare following a friend’s recommendation. She was drawn to the flexibility and chance to spend more time with Customers ,which a community role offered.
Located in beautiful Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, Claire loves the longer consultations she has with her Customers in their homes and seeing the big difference her therapy interventions make for older people.
“In aged care physiotherapy, [you treat] a lot of chronic conditions which probably won’t get better without intervention. [It means] you feel like you really are able to make a long-term difference and significantly improve the last years of a person’s life,” she explains.
“Helping people is the most rewarding part – even if it’s just helping someone walk a bit further so they can leave their house. It’s rewarding knowing by doing quite small interventions you can make quite a big difference to their lives.”
Much of Claire’s work at KinCare is focused on falls prevention and mobility. She develops tailored exercise programmes to help her Customers build both their strength and confidence so they can be more independent and get out in their community.
Claire says she talks with her Customers about what they would like to achieve with physiotherapy assistance. While everyone has their own goals, such as being able to walk further or doing more for themselves, Claire says most people want to become healthier and stronger so they can continue to stay living at home.
“A lot of older people don’t leave the house or go out in the community because they are scared they will fall. My role is quite rewarding because I can give them a sense of independence once they get more confident on their legs,” she says.
“There’s one lady I’m working with at the moment. She was really scared of falling, and wouldn’t leave her house. I was able to get her to use her walker, which made a big difference. Now she’s not scared of falling because she has the appropriate equipment. We’ve been going on walks outside her house, which is the first time she’s done that in years. She’s been really, really grateful.”
Claire also helps Customers better manage pain that may be preventing them from being active and social. She says the physical therapy she provides has an important flow-on effect for her Customers’ mental health.
“If you’re able to enable people to do things like go for a walk or use the bathroom themselves, it really helps them mentally as well. Just knowing they don’t feel as dependent on other people really seems to help [my Customers’] mental health,” she says.
While making a difference to her Customers’ lives is rewarding, Claire says she also enjoys the flexibility and challenges community physiotherapy offers.
“Because you are going into people’s homes, you need to think on your feet and be creative. You have to be flexible with the exercises you give people so they can do them in their home and with the exercise equipment they have available,” Claire explains.
For Claire, making the switch to community physiotherapy has been a great career move.
“It’s probably the best thing I did for my career. I’m a lot happier and less stressed. If you enjoy helping people, this is a really fulfilling, rewarding career.”