Trauma Informed Physiotherapy Project

2023 RBWH Foundation Grant Round 1
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Project description

In Australia, up to 75%* of individuals will go through a traumatic event, significantly impacting their mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being. This project, led by Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) Physiotherapist Miriam Dillon, will address the needs of those who have experienced trauma by offering physiotherapy care tailored to their unique challenges.

*KL Mills, 'Assessing the prevalence of trauma exposure in epidemiological surveys", Aus NZ J Psychiatry, 2011, reference n. 6

Why this work is needed

Trauma is individually defined, occurring from a single or repeated event(s) that is experienced as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening. This project, within RBWH Physiotherapy, dealt specifically with physical trauma, specifically acute injuries and illnesses, as well as chronic diseases such as persistent pain, heart disease and stroke.

Currently, there is a gap between the needs of trauma survivors and the services available to them. The Trauma Informed Physiotherapy project aims to close this gap by developing a specialised framework for physiotherapy, considering the distinctive impacts of trauma. This will be implemented at RBWH, and its effect on patient engagement and comprehensive care experience will be evaluated.

Expected outcomes

In the initial phase, the project anticipates several key outcomes. Baseline data will be analysed, forming the basis for evaluating and monitoring changes post-implementation of the trauma-informed physiotherapy framework.

The project will also create training resources to enhance physiotherapists' knowledge, awareness, and confidence in providing trauma-informed care.

The project also aims to generate recommendations for organisational changes supporting the integration of trauma-informed physiotherapy into healthcare practices.

By taking a comprehensive approach, involving both individual engagement and broader organisational structural changes, the project seeks to create a more inclusive and responsive healthcare environment for trauma survivors.

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Meet the Researcher

Miriam Dillon

RBWH Senior Physiotherapist

View Researcher Bio