Physiotherapy information for health professionals
physiotherapy information for health professionals

Information for health professionals

Our tertiary paediatric physiotherapy service provides high level care, based on evidence-based practice and international standards of care. Advanced clinicians are available in all physiotherapy teams, whilst supervision and governance is underpinned by the National Safety and Quality Healthcare Standards.

Subspecialty teams provide family centred management to develop programs specifically individualised to the child and family’s unique needs that can be delivered as outpatients, day patients, inpatients, or via outreach and telehealth.

Physiotherapy practitioners contribute to multidisciplinary teams as well as established interprofessional services, such as the Infant Team. Participation and leadership within statewide clinical networks is integral to clinical, educational, and research commitments.

The Physiotherapy department provides undergraduate and post graduate education and clinical experience for physiotherapy programs in six Queensland universities. Workshops, seminars and other forms of education (e.g. Telehealth links) are delivered nationally and internationally, in addition to attendances and presentations at conferences worldwide.

All Physiotherapists at Queensland Children’s Hospital are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA).

In June 2019 Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) hosted an education event for physiotherapists working in respiratory care for people with neuromuscular diseases (NMD). This targeted physiotherapists who work in regional and community settings, with a focus on the home management of people with NMD and recent advances in their care. This ensures these complex children throughout Queensland have access to high-level care across different settings.

The event was held to discuss recommendations for physiotherapy respiratory management in this complex group. In addition to gaining knowledge and skills the purpose of the event was to generate discussion around the current physiotherapy respiratory management of this client group within Australia and New Zealand. This event highlighted that Physiotherapists from the QCH are experts in this field and leading the way for excellent care.

The group identified a strong need for improved collaboration between acute and community services. Best practice recommendations for respiratory care in NMD were reinforced and the importance of continued engagement with consumers for their perspective and feedback. This education event was made possible due to the high-profile physiotherapy at QCH has across the world in this specialist area.

In May 2019 Queensland Children’s Hospital hosted a paediatric vestibular dysfunction workshop, the first of its kind in Australia. The Workshop was attended by 43 physiotherapists from across Queensland and Northern NSW. American Physical Therapists, Dr Rose Marie Rine and Dr Jennifer Christy, who both have significant research contributions in this specialised area, presented the first two days of the workshop. Local Physiotherapist, Christine Jessop and Audiologist, Caroline Balke delivered the third day. The vestibular system through its connections with the central nervous system, motor, auditory and visual systems has an impact on a wide range of children. Incidence is considered grossly under-identified with some countries reporting around 10 per cent (under 21 years in USA).

Feedback from clinicians attending the workshop was overwhelmingly positive with interest in further development of knowledge and skills. Early informal feedback indicates clinicians are implementing their new knowledge and skills into practice, identifying and managing children with vestibular function. The Queensland Paediatric Vestibular Network is currently being established to provide ongoing support for physiotherapists.

vestibular clinic

The Physiotherapy Continence Service provides conservative (non-surgical) treatment to children and young adolescents with bladder, bowel and pelvic floor issues. This treatment includes advice and education regarding normal and abnormal systems, good habits for your bladder and bowels and pelvic floor muscle retraining (often with a focus on relaxation and coordination of these muscles).

This specialised service is accessed via a specialist medical referral (paediatrician, gastroenterologist, paediatric surgeon). We are a primary contact service and offer conservative (non-surgical) treatment to children while they are on a waitlist to see a paediatrician – this means faster access to care for families and less appointments required with the doctor.

We also offer Telehealth for our appointments, so care can be delivered directly to the patient’s home (which means less time off school, less time off work and much less travelling).

We are currently working on the development of a Project ECHO™ training series which will offer specialist advice and teaching opportunities for medical and allied health specialists across Queensland – ensuring great access to great care across the state for our children and adolescents. Find out more about Project ECHO™ (

Respiratory care of paediatric patients is an online learning tool designed by the physiotherapy department at the Queensland Children’s Hospital. It is aimed at nursing and allied health clinicians working in hospitals who are involved in the management of patients with respiratory complications. The course helps to build capability in understanding when, and how to deliver airway suction safely and effectively. This ensures a high level of standardised management of children with respiratory complications being treated in all areas throughout Queensland.
The physiotherapy department at QCH is helping to lead the way in establishing developmentally-supportive care for sick infants and their families from Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) through to the general wards. Developmentally-supportive care refers to the delivery of medical, nursing and allied health treatment in a way that puts the infant and family in the centre of this care, minimises stress on the infant and supports infant development as best as possible while they are in hospital. By supporting infants in this way, we can help to improve their developmental skills which can improve the chance of development and academic success in childhood.

A multidisciplinary approach, consisting of medical, nursing, allied health, consumers and volunteer services is being used in key clinical areas of PICU, cardiac and babies wards to target infants most at-risk for developmental challenges. This has included undertaking a review of current developmental care processes, creating targeted developmental education for staff and families and changing the ward environments to support positive infant experiences by adding toys, play areas and books. Once established, these resources and practises will be able to be transferred to other clinical areas where care is provided to infants at high risk of developmental deprivation, delay or difficulty. Physiotherapy has also been a key contributor to the development and implementation of the long-term cardiac developmental pathway, which promotes developmental screening throughout childhood for children who have open heart surgery in their first year of life.

Brisbane hosted the 2019 Australian Paediatric Rheumatology Group (APRG) Spring Meeting bringing together nurses, doctors and physiotherapists from around Australia and New Zealand working in paediatric Rheumatology. The overarching aims of the meeting were to discuss Indigenous health and services in under-resourced areas. The focus was also around our work in furthering the Musculoskeletal Task Force within the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health (WHO) and extending the scope of JAMLess (Juvenile Arthritis Management in Less Resourced Areas) in to South East Asia. Guest speakers included Dr Helen Foster (UK) and Dr Chris Scott (South Africa) who are leaders in these two foundations respectively.

QCH hosted the inaugural Physiotherapy Summit the day preceding the Spring Meeting. Sponsorship funding was used to bring a physiotherapist from each state across Australia and New Zealand to Brisbane. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together therapists working in this rare population of patients together to establish national guidelines, research ideas and networking to build better relationships and communication platforms.

Feedback from the inaugural summit and APRG Spring Meeting was overwhelmingly positive, with connections built across the MDT and research projects underway.

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This service is available at

Allied Health (6a)
Queensland Children’s Hospital

Level 6
501 Stanley Street
South Brisbane
QLD 4101
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Contact details

t: 07 3068 2850 | 07 3068 1111 (hospital switchboard)

Operating hours

Monday to Friday, 7.30am-4pm.
Prioritised inpatient services are also available on weekends and public holidays where required.