Chronic pain continues to be a major issue for our elderly population. While new research is providing better insight into the physiology of pain and its treatment, pain remains a very personal and often misunderstood experience. According to Pain Australia, up to 80% of aged care residents suffer chronic pain.
Pain Australia CEO Carol Bennett has called for sweeping reforms to the way we currently manage pain. Highlighting the issues as part of National Pain Week, Ms. Bennett said inappropriate practices in aged care facilities were leaving as many as one in two residents under-treated for chronic pain. Many experts believe a major contributing factor is because the current federal funding provision does not support evidence-based best-practice care.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has long been a vocal critic of the current funding structure and has conducted extensive research on best practice treatments for the elderly. Last December, in a statement on the latest changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument, the APA acknowledged that while the increased treatment times for ACFI approved pain management was a step in the right direction, their position on ACFI remains unchanged. “The funding instrument is still fundamentally broken and requires a significant overhaul to ensure that older Australians are given high-quality evidence-based care that promotes mobility, function, and independence. There needs to be a system that’s focused on the independence of older Australians, rather than the current model that rewards disability.”
The APA, Allied Health Australia, and the Australian Pain Society have all stressed the need for aged care residents to access clinically-prescribed and evidence-based therapies. This includes exercise managed by an allied health professional such as a physiotherapist which is proven to manage pain, as well as help improve independence and quality of life for residents living in aged care facilities.
Currently, the Government’s reforms mean residents can only choose from massage or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) by a physiotherapist in aged care facilities, no matter what their condition. The evidence shows exercise manages pain and improves quality of life for residents in aged care.
“The review was a great opportunity to introduce consumer-directed reform – recognising the resident’s needs first. But the Government has ignored the evidence and residents,” Mr Dawson said. “ACFI continues to recognise passive treatment to manage pain causing resident dependence, rather than evidence-based, active treatments such as exercise that promote independence and function.”
The Physiotherapy programs developed by Australian Health Professionals not only ensure that your funding is maximised, they also deliver tangible positive results in resident strength, balance, mobility and falls reduction. All our group classes are conducted in a supportive and enjoyable environment and we motivate and empower our residents by tracking and monitoring their progress. More importantly, residents gain more confidence, improved self-esteem and social inclusion.
The AHP Physiotherapy model of service provides you with a dedicated Physio who will manage your ACFI-related treatments, conduct timely resident assessments, provide manual handling training and develop tailored exercise programs. And with a 100% success rate at funding validation reviews, you can be certain that all documentation and clinical practices are fully compliant.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective Physiotherapy program that will increase your funding and provide real benefits for your residents, AHP can offer a range of solutions to meet your requirements.