Department of Health

Primary contact physiotherapy services

Key messages

  • Primary contact physiotherapy (PCP) services give experienced physiotherapists a first contact role in the treatment of suitable patients in the emergency department (ED).
  • A formal review of the program was undertaken in 2010 to check timeliness, quality of service delivery and patient flow in public hospital EDs.
  • The review incluced best practice guidelines.

Primary contact physiotherapy (PCP) services give qualified and experienced physiotherapists a ‘first contact’ role in addressing and managing appropriately identified, non-urgent patients after triage in the emergency department (ED).

Primary contact physiotherapists have primary management responsibility for their patients within the ED.

Review of PCP services

A formal review of PCP services in Victorian public hospital EDs was undertaken in 2010.

The purpose of the review was to establish the impact of the PCP services on the timeliness, quality of service delivery and patient flow in Victorian public hospital EDs and to determine the future of this model of care.

Best practice PCP model of care

Based upon the findings of the evaluation, the following characteristics were recommended for a best practice PCP model of care:

  • clear delineation of PCP-type patients presenting to the ED
  • clear understanding and ongoing monitoring of the level of service demand by PCP-type patients throughout different days of the week
  • establishment of organisational policies outlining the scope of practice of ED PCPs
  • identification of interventions that can be provided solely by PCPs versus those that may be provided by a range of different ED staff
  • designation of specific funding for the provision of an ED PCP service
  • employment of an appropriately qualified senior physiotherapists with demonstrated capacity to independently diagnose and manage PCP-type patients, in addition to the ability to establish and maintain multidisciplinary relationships with other ED staff.

Reviewed 05 October 2015

Health.vic

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