Mr Adam Tanner-Hill1, Ms Tara Doyle1, Mr Adam Tanner-Hill1
1Justice Health And The Forensic Mental Health Network, Maroubra, Australia
In the NSW correctional system, the custodial patients seen by the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network form a complex and vulnerable population. The patients referred to the Physiotherapy Department were normally transported to the Long Bay Correctional Centre in metropolitan Sydney for in-person appointments.
In response to the transport limitations placed on patients due to COVID-19, the department embarked on creating a telehealth service to suit “the new normal.” The aim was to ensure continued access to physiotherapy services by providing telehealth to the patients in regional facilities via existing but under-utilized devices. There was an additional benefit: service capacity could be increased. This would be achieved by seeing the patients who would normally have declined transfer to Long Bay.
There was a slow ramp-up from ~4 clinics per month initially in April 2020 to 22 clinics per month in March 2021. From the implementation of these clinics, we have conducted 123 telehealth clinics in 21 regional clinics, seen 244 new patients and 100 follow-ups. This access improves patients’ access to care as well as continuity of care.
The Department’s telehealth service has reduced JHFMHN Physiotherapy waitlists state-wide, decreasing the average days urgent patients waited for an evaluation from 7.1 to 3.1 days, and semi-urgent from 16.3 to 13.9 days since April 2020.
JHFMHN-Physiotherapy tirelessly collaborates with staff and patients from all clinics involved to continue improve health outcomes for our specialized patient population. This aligns with the values and directions of NSW Health and the Network.
Nina’s physiotherapy career began in 1992 in the county of Yorkshire, UK. Her focus within physiotherapy has always been firmly planted in orthopaedics.
In 1997, Nina relocated to Australia. She continued her education and completed a M.H.Sc.(Manip Physiotherapy) at Sydney University in 2004.
She had held positions in private practice and at the RNSH until joining the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network in 2019 based in Maroubra.
She enjoys working for this complex and varied patient population, and assists in providing physiotherapy to 40 different clinics within the many correctional centres across NSW alongside her co-authors, Tara Doyle and Adam Tanner-Hill.