Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

  • NARI survey of older Australians highlights physiotherapists' frustrations

    Author: Haley Williams

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) survey of aged care residents has revealed that inadequate care is causing mental and physical ill-health in older Australians. It is the first detailed study of its kind in Australia and highlights the health issues occurring in aged care that can be successfully treated by physiotherapists.

APA Director and gerontology physio Rik Dawson, who presented at the Royal Commission, says the report reinforces physiotherapists’ frustrations about the limited choices available to treat and support better health outcomes for aged care residents.

Subscribe for FREE to the HealthTimes magazine

“In many cases, residents receive substandard care as the norm. This report is another addition to the growing list of calls for a complete revamp of our aged care system. We know that a system that supports basic, minimum standards results in poor long-term health outcomes and indeed hastens decline in many instances.

“Allowing physios to deliver the full scope of practice care to older Australians, something that they have said they want on multiple occasions is the best way to improve quality of life, independence and mobility.” 

The survey showed that falls prevention and continence are two significant concerns among older Australians, both of which can be treated with appropriate physiotherapy care.

Physiotherapist Michael Gilbert isn’t surprised by the findings, saying physiotherapy services are limited in aged care despite up to 80 per cent of residents suffering from chronic pain.

“I believe this is an area in which we can greatly improve. The majority if residents require exercise or pain management every day, yet they may only be receiving 20 minutes’ worth once or twice a week.”

The benefits of physiotherapy in aged care are many, explains Mr Gilbert, including reducing falls, pain, and the risk of developing dementia, while improving mental health, confidence and overall quality of life.

“Having a structured and individualised exercise program is important for all Australians and even more vital as we age and become less active.”

Other key findings of the NARI report include:

• 13% of aged care residents said they only sometimes (or less often) received the support to make their own decisions about the care and services they receive

• 16% said they only sometimes (or less often) receive care and support from appropriately skilled and trained staff

• 8% said they only sometimes (or less often) received the support and services they felt were important for their health and well-being

• 26% cited medical and health care concerns, including falls and fall prevention, medication management and access to medical professionals

• 24% raised concerns about dignity and respect.

• 17.5% raised concerns about being given choice, including being treated like a child or shouted at by staff and feeling forced to be dependent on staff or wear continence pads, not having specific care needs thought about or listened to, and lack of choice about timing of meals, personal care and lifestyle activities.


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500

Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.