Travelling physiotherapists bringing services in reach

  • Clare and David – physiotherapists in front of their bus
  • David conducting a class with elderly patients
  • Clare in a pool with an elderly man
  • Clare and David – camping with their bus

Hi, we are Clare and David – physiotherapists and co-founders of Project Physio and In Reach Co.

Project Physio is a travelling physiotherapy business that provides services to regional, rural and remote communities in need. We have been travelling the country for the past 18 months, working in a range of locations and promoting the many benefits of working rurally among our allied health peers. We have worked and travelled across six states and territories and worked in a number of different clinical settings including public hospital, private practice, FIFO outreach, community and residential aged care.

We have been extremely fortunate not to have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during our time working and travelling interstate. We have, however, become privy to the challenges that have been faced by rural businesses and communities in terms of staffing shortages secondary to border closures and limited access to health services (such as outpatient hospital services).

Project Physio is an ever-changing mobile business that adapts to each location and the differing gaps in physiotherapy service provision based on population, demographics and environment. We have adapted our service delivery as a response to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as offering increased one-on-one and home-based visits (where appropriate), when these have been ceased by outpatient physiotherapy services in the area. We have adopted an almost rural generalist service, in order to cater to areas lacking services or those with very high demand. Communities are very grateful for the assistance and the experience we have gained is invaluable.

Through our work, we have seen firsthand the difficulties rural areas have with accessing health care. At times there is a lack of awareness of how physiotherapists can help clients, as well as how clients can access government funding opportunities to reduce the cost of care. We also saw a big gap in the number of allied health professionals going rural – which has evidently been a chronic issue in almost every regional, rural and remote community we have worked in. In contrast, we also gained insight into the many benefits of working rurally, including exploring new places, being welcomed into small communities and gaining certain clinical experiences that you would never come across by working in a city.

In an effort to support the bigger rural health picture, Project Physio has been collaborating with the National Rural Health Alliance for the past 18 months, donating a small portion of all private paying client fees to the organisation.

Through Project Physio we not only provide physiotherapy services to communities in need, we also actively promote and advocate for rural practice, encouraging other allied health professionals to #gorural and broaden their careers. From this, we have created a new business called In Reach Co – an online platform that aims to improve the accessibility of allied health professionals throughout regional, rural and remote areas around Australia. In Reach Co caters exclusively to regional, rural and remote facilities and businesses, allowing them to advertise vacant positions without being drowned out by metropolitan job ads online. We want rural businesses to be seen and ‘in reach’ to allied health workers looking for a change of scenery.

Allied health professionals are also able to directly get in contact with businesses through the platform, facilitating a simpler process of finding work. We hope that this platform can help to address the issue of staffing shortages, specifically in rural and remote areas, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent natural disasters.

You can visit the website at www.inreachco.com.au for more information.

Our experiences through Project Physio, both professionally and personally, have been incredible. We are so grateful that our career allows us to find work all over this beautiful country we call home and we highly encourage others to take the plunge and work rurally. You won’t regret it!

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