Our submission to establish an advanced scope of practice for senior physiotherapists within ICU was successful.

The Advanced Respiratory Physiotherapist will undergo specific education and training to undertake bronchoscopy in intubated patients within the ICU who require assisted clearance of airway secretions or diagnostic lavage sampling of the lower airways   

This process will be supported by the development of a competency standard, credentialing framework and education resources to ensure adequate training and retention of appropriate skills.
Physiotherapists will be specifically taught all relevant knowledge for provision of safe bronchoscopy for lavage sampling, for clearance of secretions and for safe care of intubated patients undergoing bronchoscopy. They will also be taught to recognise specific areas where patient safety is at risk and when to call for help for procedures out of the scope of their training program (such as management of bleeding).

The establishment of a competency framework would enable the training of medical and physiotherapy staff to the appropriate standard.  This standard, competency and educational framework would therefore become the standard minimum requirement to undertake bronchoscopies independently. Once established, this framework could potentially be distributed and utilised by other organisations. This may potentially be adopted outside The Alfred to medical staff and physiotherapy staff alike, thereby improving healthcare delivery on a broader scale.

We hope that the first Advanced Respiratory Physiotherapist will be able to perform bronchoscopies independently by October 2015

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