Mr Thao Nguyen1, Ms Jan Quiney1, Mrs Samantha Plumb1
1Melbourne Health, Parkville, Australia
Aims: To implement and evaluate an upper limb management course for regional physiotherapists and occupational therapists using audio-visual technology and a skilled facilitator.
Methods: This project continues the work of ‘Best practice management of the hemiplegic upper limb: Utilising telehealth to provide education to clinicians in regional Victoria’ (Quiney et al 2016). The method of course delivery was modified in response to feedback. This modified version utilised a recording of the course, in conjunction with a skilled facilitator to deliver the practical components. The facilitator visited two regional sites in Victoria. One site was involved in the original telehealth course and their feedback was sought comparing delivery methods. Feedback from the second regional site, which had previously not participated in any course, was compared to prior face-to-face courses at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Results: Participant feedback following each course suggested a high level of satisfaction with this modified delivery, with scores equivalent to face-to-face courses and higher than for the original telehealth course. This course was more fluent and clear and the skilled facilitator fostered better engagement with participants than the telehealth course.
Significance of the findings to Rural Health
This study demonstrates that skilled facilitation of practical components and engagement with course participants provides a better quality learning experience when using telehealth modalities. This may inform the design of courses for the education and development of rural physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
Thao Nguyen is a Grade 2 Physiotherapist in the Neurosciences Division at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, as part of Melbourne Health in Parkville. He has a Master of Clinical Education and is passionate in the development of clinical skills and practice in undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy education. Thao has worked predominantly with stroke, neurology and neurosurgery patients for over 10 years and has also spent some time in the UK as well.