Patient handling in an ageing workforce #physiotalk 17th Feb 8pm

Physiotherapists are often seen as experts in patient handling. Indeed the CSP says that ‘A physiotherapist may be an ideal person to contribute to the handling plan for a patient.’

The #physiotalk tweetchat on Monday 17th February at 8pm will focus on our role in manual (and therapeutic) handling with a specific focus on how physical handling tasks might need to be considered in an ageing NHS workforce.

Whereas many years ago many physiotherapists took the opportunity to retire at 55, physiotherapists nowadays are working longer into their 60’s and 70’s. The only age grouping that showed a proportional increase in CSP members working in the last two years was in the 61-70 year olds.  And in 2019 there were 766 practicing CSP members over the age of 70 (CSP membership report).

Whilst its not known how many of these physiotherapists are working in a clinical rather than another capacity, it must be assumed that there are plenty of physiotherapists working up to their retirement age and beyond.

In an NHS trade union members survey over 75 per cent of respondents were worried they would not be able to work at the required pace and that their performance would deteriorate as they aged. NHS Employers has recognised that ‘Caring for an ageing society while supporting an ageing workforce is one of the greatest, but perhaps the least understood, challenges facing the NHS, employers and staff’

This issue may well be particularly pertinent to physiotherapy, with many clinical areas requiring a highly physical input, with patients requiring physiotherapists to provide skilled rehabilitation with therapeutic handling skills.

How does this impact on an ageing workforce? Or do you feel that as physiotherapists we are ideally placed to manage our own health as we age, by recognising the benefits of maintaining our strength and overall fitness, for example? 

Questions

Do you consider the impact that your work now may have on your future capabilities?

Do you feel that you will need to change the ‘physicality’ of your work as you age?

How might you adapt your work as you age?

How does your workplace support an ageing workforce?

What strategies have you employed to support your work as you age

By the way – if you are wondering why there isn’t a picture – all the photo libraries I tried had NO pictures of physiotherapists or health care workers who looked like they might be beyond middle age. Is this demographic of older NHS workers not represented in these type of pictures? 

Resources

CSP Guidance on Manual Handling 

The implications of Britain’s ageing workforce 

 

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