Working in Nursing Homes in Ireland
Nursing Homes accounting for 61% of all long term care units in Ireland which requires increased levels of physiotherapy input. It is an area in which new graduates may be able to source jobs. Below is some information on working in an Irish nursing home that you may find helpful.
Interview With a Current Nursing Home Physiotherapist
The following extract is taken from an interview with a recent graduate who qualified from the University College Dublin School of Physiotherapy in 2010 who subsequently found work as the sole physiotherapist in one of Ireland’s many nursing homes:
How did you go about getting the job?
I dropped in my CV to a local nursing home in my area and I asked to meet with the managing director who showed me around the facilities. I really liked the nursing home and decided to offer them 6 weeks work at a nominal fee. They were impressed by this proposal and I met with them again and they offered me a 6-month contract!
What did you need to set up when you got the job (paperwork, equipment, etc.)?
I had to make up all my own paperwork and contraindication sheets for balance classes, etc. I got most of this information from research articles.
They had a small gym with parallel bars and they built in corner steps at my request. I am also going to buy other equipment such as ankle weights to progress some of the exercises.
Did you have to buy your own insurance?
No. I was covered under the Nursing Home’s Insurance. (Note: The ISCP offer good deals on insurance packages to its full members)
What conditions do you see and what areas would you advise new-grads to re-familiarise themselves with?
I see lots of conditions...Parkinson’s, MS, Stroke, and end-stage COPD. However, my particular role in the nursing home is primarily to improve the residents’ balance, prevent falls, improve mobility, and improve safety. In order to achieve this I run both group balance classes and individual physiotherapy sessions. If needed I source mobility aids and hip protectors for certain patients (through their medical cards). For the bed-bound residents I create positioning charts and try to maintain active and passive range of motion.
What hours do you work?
It started off at about 30-35 hours per week, but whittled it down to 20 hours per week. We agreed to this whittling down at the start of the 6-month contract.
Any advice for new physiotherapy graduates?
Don’t be afraid to go out there and look for jobs outside of hospitals and try to think outside the box! I’d also recommend joining the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.
Some Helpful Insights into Physiotherapy and Nursing Homes
Common Nursing Home Conditions seen by Physiotherapists:
- Multiple Sclerosis MS
- OA, RA, Osteoporosis
- Musculoskeletal disorders: Fractures, Sarcopenia, Decreased ROM, Back Pain, etc.
Common Treatments within Nursing Homes
- Balance Re-Education Classes/Falls Classes:
- Precautions of note for Balance Classes include: Polypharmaceutical side effects and co-morbidities (Poor eyesight, Psychological disorders, etc.)
- Mobility Assessment and Treatment
- Provision of Safety/Walking Aids
- Transfer Practice
- Safety Awareness
- Respiratory Care
- Musculoskeletal Care
- Exercise Therapy
- Convalescent Care
Useful Outcome Measures
- Visual Analogue Scale
- Range of Movement (ROM)
- Quick DASH
- Neck Disability Index
- Roland-Morris Back Pain Questionnaire
- Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire
- Tinnetti Gait and Balance Scale
- Berg Balance Scale
- Romberg Test
- Functional Reach Test
- Elderly Mobility Scale
- Timed Up and Go
- The Modified Motor Assessment Scale
- 9-Hole Peg Test
International Falls Prevention Guidelines:
- Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
- Age and Ageing
- Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
- Geriatrics & Gerontology International