A benchmarking of physiotherapy in Australian and New Zealand adult major trauma services

Data Request Date: 18/2/2015

Data Provided: 19/6/2015

Requested by: Ms Sara Calthorpe, Ms Lara Kimmel, Ms Melissa Webb, Ms Anne Holland

Ethics Approval: Alfred HREC - 579/14

Within NZ and Australia, much research has focused on systems of trauma care, the components of which typically include medical, nursing and prehospital providers, with little assessment of the contribution that allied health (including physiotherapy) make to the care of the injured patient. As mortality rates decrease and these systems mature, there is a need to understand functional outcomes and identify specific processes and resources that directly impact on those outcomes. Physiotherapists are an integral part of the team who care for trauma patients, but their role and current standard of care provided in the acute care setting, remains poorly defined.

A benchmarking project was undertaken to document the role, responsibilities and current physiotherapy practise within each adult Australian and NZ major trauma service (MTS). This information was collected via a questionnaire, completed by the key physiotherapist/s caring for trauma patients at each centre. The project leveraged the AusTQIP collaboration and used data from the ATR.

Survey data was then linked to in-hospital trauma care data from the ATR, such as:

  • major trauma patient numbers at each centre/year;

  • average acute hospital LOS at each centre/ year; and

  • acute hospital discharge destination from each centre/ year

This information enabled the researchers to explore relationships between these data items and trauma service/ physiotherapy structure, providing greater context and understanding to the project. The project was published in the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy in 2016 (download here).