We’re a lucky bunch here at NDSP Plan Managers. Not only do we constantly get to chat with and meet clients and their families, listening to their stories and helping them achieve their personal goals, but we also get to meet new providers who offer critical supports to our clients too.
One such provider is Adelaide based Physio Fit, a team of dedicated people out “ To Change The Healthcare Experience For The Better”.
We were particularly interested in their anti-gravity treadmill, but we’ll leave the details to be explained first hand…
Meet Physio Fit…
What is the Physio Fit story?
Physio Fit was inspired in response to our previous experiences at other healthcare clinics, where clients were seemingly just a number on a production line, with all the focus on getting them in and out as quickly as possible. This didn’t align with our vision of giving client’s the ultimate experience with a strong focus on education, outcomes and personal care. We wanted to change the way that health was delivered to our community.
Our first physiotherapy clinic opened out of a CrossFit gym in the Adelaide CBD in December 2014, becoming so popular that we soon expanded further to accommodate the increased demand for hands on treatment combined with a functional gym-based service that was focused around patient outcomes and accelerated recovery.
We now have clinics located in the North Eastern and Western suburbs of Adelaide, in two multi-disciplinary complexes. Each clinic features 8 consulting rooms, an on-site rehab gym, a sports and biomechanics performance lab and a client-focused welcome room! In 2019, we were recognised for our innovation and genuine care for our team and clients by winning South Australia’s best small business in the Telstra Business Awards.
Your mission statement reads: “To Change The Healthcare Experience For The Better”. It’s a lofty approach, but a great one none-the-less. Are there specific areas of the healthcare experience you’ve got your eye on?
Our vision is to change the healthcare experience for the better, to get people out of pain and back to what they love doing.
Part of this vision was to have the most up to date and advanced technology on offer to our community. Across our clinics, we have equipment such as our anti-gravity treadmill which is the first in South Australia for community use (with the only other ones at the Adelaide Crows and Port Power football clubs). We have strength testing equipment to ensure we track accurate changes over time and also use iPads and movement software to record, monitor and progress our client’s exercise programs.
The other part of our vision is improving the overall client experience. Research has shown that mood and stress play a significant role in pain and disability, therefore we wanted to create an amazing waiting room experience to help with this; the first important change we made was simply renaming this to ‘The Welcome Room’. We didn’t want clients to come in and wait, we wanted clients to come in and feel welcomed. Within the Welcome Room we envisioned what our clients would appreciate when coming in for appointments – this resulted in coffee from real coffee beans, herbal teas and even massage chairs at our Modbury clinic!
We now have the focus on being so unique in delivering unbelievable wow moments for our clients, that soon other clinics will have no choice but to join us in changing the overall experience of health care for the better, as it will become expected rather than an exception.
What is the range of services you offer, and how has that grown or changed since you started out?
Initially, we simply offered Physiotherapy, however when we opened our first large clinic in 2016, we expanded into Podiatry and Remedial Massage Therapy as well. We love working with other local health professionals but long term, we knew that the best client experience and care would come from having a team of great health professionals under the one roof.
Some of the benefits of having so many different disciplines in the one clinic are:
- Appointments can be lined up on the same day if you need to see a number of therapists, even one after another.
- Communication between therapists is simple and there is no need for clients to become the messenger between different clinics or organisations
- All of your documents and communication is sent and stored within one clinic
- You become part of the family and are well known by practitioners and admin team members
We have now expanded further to include an Orthopaedic Surgeon and sports doctor who consult out of our clinics and have psychology and nutrition services due to begin in early 2021.
Now, let’s talk about your gravity defying treadmill … How does it work, what are the benefits and who would typically be a candidate for using it?
The anti-gravity treadmill may look like a large balloon sitting on top of a treadmill, however it is an advanced piece of technology used in elite sports and rehab settings. Air fills up the “balloon” creating a negative pressure which reduces your body weight down from 100% to 20% body weight (and anything in between).
When using the anti-gravity treadmill at a lower percentage of body weight, we can help clients return to walking and moving pain free again, well before they can at normal body weight. Rehab like this can also be used to help maintain or re-train gait patterns in individuals that have reduced strength or coordination.
The advantage of this equipment is that we can support clients and carry out rehabilitation programs that they can not usually perform on their own. This means we can bridge the gap between their current levels of functional capacity and what they wish to achieve pain free, and without restriction at full body weight.
There is a wide variety of specific uses for this treadmill including muscle strains, ligament sprains, neurological conditions and post-surgical or fracture injuries. With these injuries or conditions, we can reduce body weight to decrease the impact to the bones and joints while still being able to perform rehabilitation exercises to improve strength, coordination and mobility. By still being able to work on these areas where normally pain or restriction would limit us, it can result in a much faster recovery or improvement.
In addition to this, and more specific to NDIS clients, we are able to use the anti-gravity treadmill for managing conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s Disease to improve leg strength, increase walking speed and endurance and improve overall quality of life. The benefit of using this treadmill for clients with these types of conditions is that we can complete an appropriate exercise or rehabilitation program that otherwise wouldn’t be achievable due to weakness, rigidity or risk of falls.
Can you give us an example of a success story surrounding this marvellous piece of equipment?
So far we have had great success using this technology for people returning to work, sport or daily activities after surgeries and fractures of the ankle and lower leg. We’ve been able to speed up the process of returning to pain free movements such as walking and running which has then in turn led to recovery times decreasing from 6 months to approximately 3 months.
We have also been able to assist in re-training gait in clients after significant knee surgeries which have affected strength and coordination. The ability to walk without pain and with reduced pressure on stiff or uncomfortable areas allows these individuals to focus on their pre-injury or pre-surgical gait patterns. As a result, we have got these clients walking further and faster than they normally could with more traditional rest and recovery.
Finally, more unique cases we have helped with, have been improving the walking capacity of visually impaired individuals. Gait patterns often change when there is sudden loss of vision which can lead to discomfort through various areas in the lower body and reduce their physical strength and capacity. This technology allowed us to return walking capacity back to where it was prior to vision loss and set exciting new goals to achieve – even more than we had originally set out to.
Focusing on Physiotherapy (it’s part of your name after all) what are some common misconceptions surrounding this kind of Therapy?
Often we hear that Physiotherapy is all hands-on treatment like massage, stretching or dry needling. The reality is we try to be very active in the way we approach treatment more often using exercise and movements which can help us with everyday tasks and activities.
One of the other things we hear a lot is that you have to keep coming back to physio forever. For us we love to provide a pathway forward that involves a combination of clinic-based sessions as well as in-home programs to allow our patients to get the best results possible.
We will work with you towards a plan, and within that, we will set milestones along the way so that you can see your progress towards an end goal.
How has your experience with the NDIS been to date?
From a client perspective, it can be quite a challenge to figure out all the ins-and-outs of the NDIS system. As a provider, we have also had these feelings! Our biggest advantage has been the ability to reach out to those around us who are immersed in the NDIS, such as the team at NDSP Plan Managers. NDSP Plan Managers has been an incredible help to decipher the role we play in our client’s care and to clarify how to best support both our clients and our team with the entire NDIS process.
Sticking with the NDIS, what percentage of your clientele are NDIS Participants and have you found there to be a need for the NDIS to change their approach to the supports you offer?
Our clinic currently sees a number of plan managed and self managed NDIS clients, making up approximately 10% of our total appointments at the moment. This number is steadily growing as of late, so we are excited to work more and more with clients within the NDIS.
We love that the NDIS is giving more choice to clients regarding their health care, however that can be a tough situation with so much information out there. As a clinic / provider, our focus is on sharing information regarding the amazing services and equipment we have to offer our community and of course, looking after the clients who choose us to help them achieve their goals.
What advice can you give to Participants who may need Physio as part of their Plan to achieving their goals?
There are many factors that go into obtaining a goal, and we love that we have an active role centered around helping our clients achieve them!
Our top 3 tips for working with a Physio:
- Often you will be given advice and exercises to complete at home. This is as, if not more important than the work we do inside the consult rooms. Prioritise these and you’ll be fast tracking your progress towards achieving your goals!
- It can be easy to lose sight of your goals when working towards them long term, so having opportunities for reassessments along the way can be helpful to track your overall progress. We suggest having these at least every 6 weeks.
- Make sure you see a practitioner who listens and wants to help you work towards achieving your goals. Not everyone is the same so not everyone should receive the same treatment.
- BONUS TIP – Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try different treatment methods to achieve your goals!
If a participant needs physiotherapy what should they do to engage Physio Fit as their provider?
Physio Fit can be easily contacted for any of our services through phone, email or via our website.
Our friendly administration team can be contacted during business hours Monday to Saturdays on (08) 8340 4932 at Findon and (08) 7226 9901 at Modbury.
Our email for all enquiries is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our website for online bookings or webchat with one of our team members is www.physiofitadelaide.com.au.
NDSP Plan Managers are a NDIS registered provider specialising in NDIS Plan Management. If you are a NDIS Participant looking for the right Plan Manager, CLICK HERE to get in touch with our friendly team today.