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The Role of the Band 4 Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner in Intensive Care

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The Role of the Band 4 Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner in Intensive Care

Allaina Eden, Physiotherapy Service Lead for Critical Care, Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiology

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.   [email protected]


Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest specialist cardiothoracic hospitals in Europe, and includes England’s main heart and lung transplant centres.  The Band 4 Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner (AP) role was implemented in 2010.

Rationale for poster:

To showcase the role Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioners play within ICU; to support rehabilitation of ICU patients, therefore  contributing towards improving ability prior to ward transfer.

Areas of work at Papworth Hospital:

•Intensive care
•Cardiothoracic surgical ward
•Cardiology wards
•Respiratory medicine wards
•Weaning centre
•Pulmonary rehabilitation classes

Scope of treatment

•Routine post-operative patients from day two to discharge; promoting independent mobility, stair assessments and providing discharge information
•Assist qualified physiotherapists with long term slow to progress rehabilitation patients requiring two staff during treatment sessions, e.g. sitting on the edge of the bed
•Independent additional rehabilitation treatments sessions, e.g. limb exercises, bed bike or chair pedals, standing practice or marching on the spot
•Treatment requirement screening day 1 post-operative cardiac surgery; involves reviewing observations, blood gases and chest X-rays.

Weekend Rehabilitation Service

The Assistant Practitioners staff the physiotherapy weekend rehabilitation service. Therefore, patients requiring rehabilitation receive input seven days per week, this ensures continued progression in physical improvement.


•Basic competencies over the first three months of employment  
•4 monthly rotations
•Department and team training sessions
•Personal mentors and rotational supervisors
•Rotational and annual objectives
•In house course
•External courses  
•Advanced competencies


Collaborative working with the occupational therapists  Cognitive rehabilitation with ICU

Auscultation skills


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