Mandating Physiotherapy in residential aged care critical for older Australians

In a joint letter to the Federal Government, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA), and the four largest providers of practitioners in the allied health sector are proposing a solution to bridge a significant gap in the new residential aged care funding model scheduled to be introduced next year.

The Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has already agreed that every aged care resident must receive a minimum of 200 minutes of care per day.

The APA together with Medibank, Plena, Vivir and Healthcare Australia, that deliver care to more than one million older people and employ 5,000 allied care professionals, are urging the Government to carve out explicit allied health care time in residential aged care within the mandated minimum care time.

APA National President Scott Willis said that despite the Federal Government’s record funding of the sector, the Australian National Aged Care Classification residential funding model to be introduced next year does not specifically support the provision of critical allied health care services such as physiotherapy.

“The APA and the four providers are calling on the Federal Government to ensure that ten per cent (20 minutes) of the already mandated 200 minutes of care per resident per day is allocated to allied health care.”

“While talking in minutes of care doesn’t sound like a lot, it can make an enormous difference to an older person’s independence and quality of life. The APA would like to see ten of those minutes dedicated to high quality, evidence based physiotherapy care to prevent falls, improve function and manage pain.”

“Under the proposed funding model older people in residential aged care may still miss out on critical care and we believe that a minimum of ten minutes per resident, per day of physiotherapy must be guaranteed to help older people stay mobile, independent and pain free.”

“We are concerned that without specific provisions to ensure older people receive high quality physiotherapy care, they may end up receiving the cheapest, not the best care.”

“The Federal response to the Royal Commission was very positive and we look forward to working with the Government to further enhance the new aged care system,” Mr Willis said.

For further information, or to speak to Scott Willis please contact Noel McMahon, Senior Communications Advisor on (03) 9092 0810 or email

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