Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2015 Contents SYDNEY - 13-14 May 2015
BRISBANE - 7 May 2015
ATSA Independent Living Expo
YOUR CHOICE, YOUR CONTROL
Phone 1300 789 845 or visit
Supporting inclusion and independence with Australia's foremost
exhibition of aids, equipment & allied services.
On display will be the latest in aids, equipment and assistive technology,
as well as options for mobility, services and lifestyles. The event is open
to visitors of all ages, including those with a disability, seniors and their
families, friends and carers.
FREE CLINICAL PROGRAM for all interested including Occupational
Therapists, Physiotherapists, Rehab Engineers, Allied Health Clinicians,
Nurses, Case Managers, Carers and Medical Professionals. This is also a
great opportunity to collect CPD (Continuing Professional Development).
New for 2015 -- sessions dedicated to consumers and families.
physiologists (AEPs) can
make a significant contribution
to the health, wellbeing
and independence of older
Australians. As a result the profession is
emerging as an essential service within
ageing and aged care. However, there are
varying levels of understanding within the
sector about the role of an AEP in the allied
health team which has presented a barrier
to more AEP services being delivered in a
variety of ageing and age care settings.
Older people in the community and in
aged care facilities experience high levels of
chronic disease, disability and pain and are
at an increased risk of falls and fall related
injuries. Most people over 75 years of age
will have at least two chronic conditions and
nearly half of this cohort will experience a
fall in any given 12-month period. AEPs can
play a significant role in symptom reduction
through treatment and therapy.
An AEP specialises in delivering
progressive exercise therapy that is an
essential contributor to improved health
within the multidisciplinary approach to
treatment. There is strong evidence that,
even for the very old, resistance training
can reverse the progress of sarcopenia
(loss of muscle mass). AEP-led exercise
therapy also improves strength and
balance, and prevents falls.
A raft of evidence supports
AEP interventions in reducing the
symptomology of chronic conditions,
reducing pain and functional disability,
and improvements in the individual's
capacity to carry out activities of daily
living. These improvements support
the increased emphasis in the sector on
reablement and restorative care which
translates into improved personal dignity
and quality of life for individuals.
Exercise is not only a means of getting
stronger and fitter but also provides
socialisation for isolated individuals, respite
and a welcome outing for carers, therapy
to remain living at home and a fun activity
that people look forward to each week.
The growth of AEPs in the community
is also being seen in Home and Community
Care funded services. One NSW allied health
HACC provider reports that 75 per cent of
its total services are exercise physiology.
However, residential care has not
experienced the same growth. The lack of
"clinical exercise therapy" as a recognised
pain management therapy and exercise
physiology not being listed as an allied
health profession under the Aged Care
Funding Instrument (ACFI) are the
main reasons why the growth has been
significantly less than in the community.
Older adults with a chronic condition
can access AEP services through a team
care arrangement under Medicare.
However, this only allows for five visits per
year which the referring doctor apportions
between the allied health team. In many
cases, the five visits shared across allied
health do not provide the necessary
support required to manage an individual
with multiple chronic disease states as is
the case with many older people.
Policy is already moving towards
broader support for reablement services
to assist older people with complex health
conditions and care needs. Policymakers
need to appreciate the benefits of exercise
for older people and increase equity and
access to these services, in particular for
those most in need, older people from
low socioeconomic backgrounds and
non-self-funded retirees. This could be
achieved through provision of additional
sessions through the existing team care
arrangement funding and revision of the
ACFI to include exercise physiology as a
funded treatment modality.
As part of the allied health team,
AEPs have a significant role to play in
improving the health and physical capacity
of older people independent of their level
of disability or disease. This translates
directly into improved dignity and quality
of life for Australians in their twilight years.
Anita Hobson-Powell is executive officer of
Exercise & Sports Science Australia.
Policymakers need to appreciate the benefits of exercise
for older people and increase equity and access to these
services, writes Anita Hobson-Powell.
Overcoming the funding barrier
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