Physiotherapy clinical educators Kasey Bonato (left) and Caitlin Hill (right) flank students Mitchell Hill and Samantha Bainbridge.
Physiotherapy clinical educators Kasey Bonato (left) and Caitlin Hill (right) flank students Mitchell Hill and Samantha Bainbridge.

CQUni physio students set up telehealth

The smell of disinfectant has only just started to disperse at CQUniversity’s Rockhampton North Physiotherapy Clinic, as students switch to telehealth consultations during their final years’ placements.

Mitchell Hill and Samantha Bainbridge completed their five-weeks of clinical placement at the end of March, despite tightening of contact restrictions due to COVID-19.

Clinical educators worked with the students to ensure extra washing of linen; temperature screening of patients, students and educators; and staggering of appointments to ensure social distancing in waiting rooms.

“It was possibly the most tumultuous placement we’ve ever had at the clinic but we managed to get the students through to their final week,” Ms Hill says.

“We ensured that patients were educated about their condition so that when the clinic closed they were not left without follow-up.

Ms Bonato says her team had certainly had to “fly by the seat of our pants” to set up a professional Telehealth service delivery for patients.

“Setting up telehealth was challenging and planning of how we delivered it was extensive but nothing prepared us for carrying out a consultation with a patient in their backyard and another member of the public pulling up beside the patient’s yard and asking for directions during our telehealth consultation.

“It gave us all a bit of humour during the placement at a time when it was quite stressful for all involved,” she says.

“CQUniversity Health Clinic is moving to online care in order to maintain the safety of our clients, staff, and students in light of the current COVID-19 restrictions.

“Current patients will be offered the option of teleconferencing using the free online videoconferencing software, Zoom.

“Although we are closed to the public, staff are continuing to work on behind the scenes planning and making the clinic experience better for future students and patients once it is safe for students, staff and patients to return.”

The public-access clinic is closed until further notice.



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