Sydney Specialist Physiotherapy Centre (SSPC) was the first specialist physiotherapy centre to open in Sydney, and as such offers a unique opportunity for physiotherapists and their patients.
In particular we anticipate physiotherapists will benefit from the two main services offered by the centre namely: clinical specialist services offered to patients and clinical education and mentorship offered to physiotherapists.
1) Clinical specialist services: complex patient assessment and direction of management
The Specialist Physiotherapists at SSPC operate principally upon a referral basis. This unique service offers physiotherapists an alternative option to obtain an opinion or review of their patients in either diagnosis, prognosis and/or management of the patients they treat. Similar models have thrived in the medical profession, where general practitioners choose discipline specific specialists for their more complex patients or patients who are not progressing as expected. Traditionally, physiotherapists have also turned to the medical profession to obtain a specialist opinion. However, in many instances this may not always be the ideal option for their patients.
Which patients would benefit from referral?
The specialist physiotherapists would expect that patient who may best benefit would include:
- Patients who are not progressing or have not responded to physiotherapy treatment as expected
- Patients with whom the physiotherapist is uncertain of the diagnosis or prognosis
- Patients who may need a second opinion or an alternative direction for management
What would the specialist physiotherapist do?
Knowledge in physiotherapy has exponentially expanded over the years, which means it is increasingly difficult for practitioners to remain current and expert across all areas of practice. Specialist physiotherapists at SSPC have dedicated at least the last 10 years of their careers to their specific area of expertise across the domains of clinical practice, research and teaching. Recognition of their expertise has been awarded through obtaining fellowship of the Australian College of physiotherapists. As such, specialists have the ability to differential diagnose complex patients and draw from a wider range of assessment domains and management options.
Specialist physiotherapists at the centre should therefore be able to:
- Provide an accurate diagnosis, with the clinical reasoning for differential diagnoses explained
- Provide an accurate prediction of time frame for recovery
- Offer alternatives to management, when the current management programme is not progressing
Specialists at SSPC will not take over the care of your patients. We see the best option is to assist you in the management of your patients. You may request that the specialist see your patient for a short course of treatment should the recommendations for treatment fall outside your expertise. However, you may also choose to attend the assessment with your patient and the specialist will happily assist you with the assessment and management of your patient as appropriate.
The specialists will always provide you with a written report or if preferred, discuss the patient with you.
2) Clinical Education and mentorship offered to physiotherapists
The Specialists at SSPC are actively involved in clinical education of physiotherapists and other health care providers in their respective area of expertise. Services offered include:
- Clinical education to individual physiotherapy practices (eg in-service education)
- Peer review (review of your patient care either on paper, verbally or if requested the specialist can watch you assess and treat a patient face to face)
- Clinical education courses
- Mentorship of candidates enrolled in the specialisation process
Conditions we consult on
Referral patients may include :
- Patients with complex chronic low back pain
- Patients with complex whiplash and neck pain
- Patients with complex sports injuries
- Patients who are not progressing or have not responded as expected to conservative physiotherapy treatment
- Patients for whom the referring physiotherapist is uncertain of the diagnosis or prognosis
- Patients who require a second opinion or an alternative direction for management
- Patients who have come to a plateau and require an exhaustive review of all management options
- Patients requiring triage or pre-surgical assessments. For example, we can assess the clinical needs of patients thought to require an orthopaedic or neurosurgical review. This type of assessment can determine whether rapid referral to a surgeon is the most prudent mode of management or whether a course of conservative care with review by the Medical Specialist would be most appropriate.