Newcastle critical care unit physiotherapy team takes on support workers

A critical care unit has introduced band 4 physiotherapy associate practitioners to provide seven-day enhanced mobilisation to elective surgical post-operative patients. 


Finalists Laurie Zebik (far right) next to Zoe Gray at the chief AHP officer’s awards

The associate posts were introduced as part of a pilot service improvement project at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, but now have ongoing funding.

During the pilot, which started in April 2016, patients showed improvement in functional mobility scores at discharge from critical care. The Modified Rivermead Mobility Index showed an improvement from 19 to 26.

There was also a reduction in length of stay and a significant increase in critical care activity in this elective surgical patient group during the pilot phase, from 326 admissions to 363.

The band 4 practitioners, Zoe Gray and Laurie Zebik, were pivotal in the success of the service improvement project and were finalists at the chief allied health professions officer’s awards in London on 21 June.

‘Introducing the band 4 practitioners has allowed us to improve the quality of service to our critical care patients seven days a week,’ said Catherine Baker, lead physiotherapist at the trust.

‘With a relatively small financial investment, there has been a significant improvement in our service delivery and clinical outcomes.

‘Capacity has also been freed up for our senior specialist physiotherapists to develop their roles with more complex critical care patients.

‘We can now provide a physiotherapy rehabilitation after critical illness coordinator role, which has enabled us to be fully compliant with the NICE clinical guideline 83.

‘It is very positive that our trust has supported the funding to make these posts substantive, based on the results of this pilot.

‘We have secured additional investment to roll out a similar model to our cardiothoracic critical care unit in the autumn.’

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