Elderly people often have multiple chronic conditions, so their needs can be complex to understand. The whole-person approach to assessment in osteopathy is extremely valuable in identifying problems and establishing appropriate treatments to improve function and relieve pain.
Osteopaths have the skills to provide expert hands-on treatment, educate clients and prescribe appropriate exercise and other interventions based on the findings of their assessment.
Osteopaths are university qualified to provide a range of services to older Australians, whether they are living in Residential Aged Care Facilities or in their own home. The types of services that could be provided by osteopaths include:
- Musculoskeletal, functional, and/or other assessments;
- Management of chronic disease;
- Pain management support;
- Manual therapy interventions post injury;
- Exercise and clinical education programs to assist with maintaining skills for activities of daily living, or to manage balance and/or the risk of falls.
Residents of aged care facilities and older Australians living in their own home can access subsidised osteopathic treatment as part of a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program, with an appropriate referral from a GP.
In addition, older Australians living in their own home can access funding for osteopathic services through Community Home Support Packages (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP). These programs are designed to help older Australians to continue to live well at home through provision of government subsidies. There is an assessment process which determines what program is most suitable, and more information is available on the My Aged Care website.
Some aged care providers may be less familiar with osteopathy than other allied health professions and may not be aware that osteopathic treatments can be provided in residential aged care settings and through CHSP and HCP programs. If you would like an osteopath to help you with your health care needs, please let your aged care provider know about your preferences.