What We Do
Physiotherapists work within an Allied Health Services Directorate at Cairns Hospital. This team works closely with medical officers, nursing , other allied health , support and administration staff to optimise patient recovery and well-being.
Physiotherapists are highly qualified health professionals who work in partnership with their patients to help people get better and stay well.
Using advanced techniques and evidence-based care, physiotherapists assess, diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders. Physiotherapy helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life.
Physiotherapy extends from health promotion to injury prevention, acute care, rehabilitation, maintenance of functional mobility, chronic disease management, patient and carer education and occupational health.
Physiotherapists at Cairns Hospital (CH) provide care for both inpatients and outpatients across the areas of:
Specialises in the treatment of patients who are admitted to hospital due to a traumatic accident / incident or those undergoing planned surgery (elective). Providing a holistic approach to regain function, enhance mobility and provide exercises to strengthen and increase range of motion to maximise recovery.
This is an inpatient short stay unit with access to a range of Allied Health staff, aiming to provide timely assessment for people with medical conditions. After assessing our patients, we work to link people with community services if needed, or refer on to other areas of the hospital.
Physiotherapists work with respiratory conditions, and assist a wide variety of people to improve their mobility and function post-illness.
Intensive Care (ICU) and High Dependency (HDU)
Physiotherapists provide respiratory care for critically ill ventilated and non-ventilated patients and patients requiring high dependency monitoring. Physiotherapists maintain and increase strength and joint movement through passive and active exercises; assist with regaining mobility; treat musculoskeletal conditions and commence rehabilitation once patients are well enough to participate in therapy.
Physiotherapists treat a variety of respiratory and other illnesses, and assist in commencing Phase 1 Cardiac Rehabilitation in hospital.
Physiotherapists provide care for patients undergoing a variety of surgical procedures:
Physiotherapists work with patients both pre- and post-operatively to maintain function and mobility and manage respiratory conditions.
Paediatrics and Adolescent Care
Inpatient and outpatient management and treatment of childhood respiratory diseases (such as Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis); neurological and orthopaedic conditions.
Health management of Cerebral Palsy including hip surveillance, contracture management and post health intervention therapy.
Specialist outpatient assessment and treatment of Congenital Talipes Equinovrus (Clubfoot) and other foot anomalies.
Women’s, Men's and Pelvic Health
Physiotherapists assist both men and women with a variety of conditions that may affect their bladder, bowel or pelvic health.
Women’s, Men’s & Pelvic Health Physiotherapists can offer support to inpatients and outpatients with:
Musculoskeletal and Orthopaedic Outpatients
Physiotherapists provide individual assessment, treatment and management of a variety of client groups:
Physiotherapists provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for patients following trauma/surgery to the hand and upper limb, working closely with occupational therapists in the clinic.
Physiotherapists work within a multidisciplinary team and under direction of a rehabilitation physician and geriatrician to provide rehabilitation to patients with conditions such as:
A physiotherapist works specifically with heart failure patients to assist to increase exercise and activity, and make healthy lifestyle choices.
Older Persons Evaluation, Rehabilitation and Assessment (OPERA)
Physiotherapy works as part of this multi-professional team to assist patients to optimise function.
Neurosurgical & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Screening Clinic (N/OPSC)
Physiotherapists work with the Neurosurgical & Orthopaedic Departments to identify patients on Specialist Out Patient Waiting Lists awaiting neurosurgical & orthopaedic / surgical opinion, who may benefit from non-surgical management of their neurosurgical or orthopaedic (musculoskeletal) condition. A Physiotherapist assesses patients in a first contact role and devises a management plan to help to reduce the waiting time for patients who do not require surgery.
Physiotherapists work to improve patient flow and provide high quality care to patients of the Emergency Department. There are two Physiotherapy roles within the Cairns Hospital ED.
The Emergency Physiotherapy Practitioner (EPP) operates in a primary contact Physiotherapy role, which involves advanced assessment, clinical reasoning, diagnosis and treatment planning for patients with musculoskeletal conditions including fractures and joint dislocations. If triaged as suitable, patients are drawn directly to physiotherapy from the ED waiting room and managed independently of medical officers, including discharge management. Clinical support is provided by senior medical staff as required.
The Emergency Department Physiotherapist (EDP) operates in a secondary contact Physiotherapy role as part of the multi-professional team, providing Physiotherapy assessment and intervention for patients presenting to ED on referral from a medical officer, EPP or Nurse Practitioner. Services provided include the management of musculoskeletal conditions, vestibular conditions, cardiorespiratory conditions and mobility and balance problems, including discharge planning.
Cancer Care Services
Physiotherapists have many roles in assisting people to manage cancer or the effects of cancer treatments from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Cancer care Physiotherapists can offer support to inpatients and outpatients:
Projects and Research
Cairns Hospital Physiotherapy Department is actively leading or participating in multiple research and service improvement projects across inpatient and outpatient services.
The Physiotherapy Department has strong links with external agencies to ensure a smooth care pathway from inpatient to community management through referrals when necessary and education for patients and/or carers via programs such as: