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Patients and families

  • What does Physiotherapy at RCH involve?

    The Physiotherapy Department at RCH provides clinical services to children and adolescents from birth to 18 years in Victoria.  We also provide specialised services to some children living interstate and overseas.  Physiotherapists work closely with families, carers, schools, doctors, community providers and other health professionals to ensure best care for all of our patients.

    We provide services across a wide range of clinical specialties for both inpatients and outpatients of the hospital.  Our physiotherapists provide assessment, advice and treatment to infants, children and adolescents with musculoskeletal (bones and muscles), cardiorespiratory (lungs and heart), neurological (brain and nerves) or other complex needs.

    Some patients are treated through our Aquatic Physiotherapy service which involves doing physiotherapy treatment in the RCH pool.

    Most physiotherapists at RCH work in the Physiotherapy Department but there are some physiotherapists who work in other departments of the hospital such as Wallaby (Hospital in the Home), Post Acute Care, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Rehabilitation (VPRS) and Pain Management.

    Physiotherapy Department opening hours

    The RCH Physiotherapy Department is open between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).  The contact details for the Physiotherapy Department can be found on our Contact Us page.

    There are limited physiotherapy services for inpatients between 5.00pm and 10.00pm, Monday to Friday, and between 8.30am and 9.00pm on weekends and public holidays.

    How can my child see a physiotherapist at RCH?

    Children must be referred to the Physiotherapy Department by a Paediatrician or other medical specialist. 

    We do not accept referrals from General Practitioners (GP) or any health professionals other than Paediatricans or medical specialists except for conditions or treatments listed below:

    • Plagiocephaly and/or torticollis - Referrals accepted from GPs
    • Brachial plexus injury - Referrals accepted from GPs, Maternal and Child Health Nurses, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals
    • Aquatic physiotherapy - Referrals accepted from physiotherapists

    Not all referrals sent to the Physiotherapy Department will be accepted to our service and in many cases it is more appropriate for children to be managed by a physiotherapist in their local community.  If we do not accept the referral for your child we will send a letter back to the person who referred you.

    Coming to a physiotherapy appointment

    If you are coming to a physiotherapy appointment at RCH you should make sure that you bring any physiotherapy equipment your child uses at home, including splints.  Children should be wearing clothing and shoes that allow them to move and exercise and allow the physiotherapist to see the part of their body requiring treatment.

    If you are coming to an aquatic physiotherapy appointment you should bring your child's bathers/swimming clothes, a towel, drink and ear plugs or goggles if needed.

    There is limited space in the treatment areas and having lots of people in the room can be distracting for children during their physiotherapy session so we ask that you limit the number of people who come along to the appointment where possible.

    Physiotherapy appointments may take place in different parts of the hospital so please refer to your appointment letter to check where you need to go and what time you need to arrive.

    • Physiotherapy appointments that are held in Specialist Clinic B take place on level one of the hospital.  The closest lifts to Specialist Clinic B are the green lifts.  When you walk out of the green lifts on level one, Specialist Clinic B will be right in front of you.
    • Physiotherapy appointments that are held in Specialist Clinic A take place on the ground floor of the hospital.  The closest lifts to Specialist Clinic A are the yellow lifts.  When you are walking along the "main street" of the hospital on the ground floor, Specialist Clinic A is opposite the Creature sculpture.
    • Some Physiotherapy appointments may also be offered via video consultation which is known as telehealth.  If you would like to consider your next appointment using telehealth please discuss this with your physiotherapist to see if it is clinically appropriate.

    Cancelling or changing a physiotherapy appointment

    If you are unable to come to your physiotherapy appointment appointment or need to change the date or time of the appointment we ask that you let us know as soon as possible so that we can find another date or time that suits you.  This will also allow us to make the appointment that doesn't suit you available for someone else.

    You can cancel or reschedule your physiotherapy appointment by:

    • Phone - Call the Allied Health Administration team on +61 3 9345 9300 between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
    • My RCH Portal - if your child is registered with My RCH Portal you can request, confirm or cancel upcoming appointments.

    Information Sheets

    The RCH Kids Health Info fact sheets cover a wide range of topics including many that are relevant to physiotherapy.

    Some of the facts sheets that are particularly relevant to physiotherapy include:

    • Ankle sprains
    • Brachial plexus palsy or Erb's palsy
    • Brain injury - Gross Motor Skills
    • Brain injury - Physical activity
    • Brain injury - Physical effects of injury
    • Burns - rehabilitation
    • Crutches
    • Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)
    • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)
    • Fracture care
    • Fractures (broken bones)
    • Hip spica plaster
    • Plagiocephaly - misshapen head
    • Plaster cast care
    • Preventing falls in hospital
    • Slipped upper femoral epiphysis (SUFE)

    An information sheet is also available on Baby's head shape: Face time and tummy time equals head control.

    A copy of the RCH "Understanding Brachial Plexus Palsy" information booklet can be found on the Department of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery website.

    Be Positive (B+) videos for children

    Be Positive (B+) is a great way for children to find out more about The RCH.  B+ host Carlie and her two loveable friends, Jazz and Rocco, are here to help children learn and understand more about hospital and what happens here.  Children can meet the different people that look after them during their hospital stay, learn about the technology that helps them get better, and discover what makes RCH a great hospital.

    There are currently two videos available on the Be Positive (B+) website for children to watch about physiotherapy:

    • A child's guide: Physio in the Pool
    • Get to know a Physiotherapist

    How to see a physiotherapist in the community

    Your child may be best managed by a physiotherapist closer to home.

    Your GP can refer you to a public physiotherapy service in your local area.

    You can also search for a private physiotherapist in your local area through the 'Find a Physio' function of the Australian Physiotherapy Association website or you can find an NDIS registered provider through your myplace portal or the Find a Registered Provider page of the NDIS website.