A day in the life of a Feros Care physio
Kerry Hardey has always loved the opportunities that come with being a physiotherapist.
As a backpacker from the UK travelling around Australia, Kerry would pick up physio work in aged care all over the country, enjoying the advantages of the flexibility and availability of work. She ended up enjoying the field so much that when she settled in northern New South Wales with her family, she applied for a job with Feros Care.
Four and a half years later, she’s still doing what she loves best; travelling around the community, going to people’s homes and improving their quality of life.
“Most people like living at home, and I’m trying to enable them to stay at home as long as they are able to.”
What a day for Kerry might look like
“Feros Care is very supportive with how they treat their Clinicians,” Kerry explains. “They trust that your clinical recommendations align with the Clinical Action Plan you develop with the clients. You can be flexible with how you treat your clients, and what you work with them to achieve.”
One client wanted to walk on the beach to build up his strength and endurance, and that’s exactly what Kerry did with him. Other clients may request hydrotherapy – “I’m more than willing to jump in their pool if they have a pool or meet them at hydrotherapy pools.” Or some have a particular hobby such as bushwalking that Kerry loves to support getting them back into.
“I had a 91-year-old client who’d given her walking shoes to her niece. We have a fundraising initiative at Feros Care called Feros Giving, I applied to fund a new pair of walking shoes for her. We got her $100 towards a new pair, and it was a great way to motivate her and support her reablement.”
The benefit of her work in community, Kerry says, is the time she can give to talk to people.
“In hospitals and private practice, you can be rushed. Sometimes I would only have 10 minutes, I’d have to explain to clients, I’m so sorry but I can’t listen to your story about your pet”
“With Feros, you do have the time. You can build that rapport and have a genuine interest in your client.”
It allows her to pick up on the little things. Like one client, who struggles with knee pain. He lost his wife in 2022 and was flying to Melbourne for the first time without her to see the rest of his family.
“He was anxious about it, and he had an old, stretched knee brace that he thought was fantastic but that had definitely seen better days. So, with his consent, I got in my car and purchased him a new knee brace on his account with the chemist.”
“He put it on, and he was so thrilled with it. He couldn’t believe he’d been happy with the old one. It made him feel so much better and more confident to travel.”
The importance of working holistically
Kerry knows the key to being a great physio in the community is to have a team around the clients. And she loves that in her role, she can work alongside Wellbeing Managers, looking at not just their physical health but also their mental and social.
“You have registered nurses, occupational therapists and care workers supporting Feros clients. You may be able to get care workers to do some of the exercise programs. If you’re concerned about someone, you can refer them to a nurse or a community support service.”
Kerry often recommends Feros Care programs such as In Great Company, a service which matches volunteers with lonely older Australians. Or she suggests technological solutions such as the Virtual Social Centre, which connects people through book clubs, cooking classes, language lessons and many more sessions.
“As physios, we shouldn’t just be treating the injury. It’s about how things affect the client overall.
“Because if you have a broken leg, it’s not just a broken leg. It’s about how it’s impacting your mental health and emotional health. People won’t do the exercises you give them if they are depressed and have low motivation – if you can support them emotionally and mentally, it really helps.”
Perks of Feros Care
Kerry loves working locally. With so many other organisations only having head offices in major cities, she appreciates being able to come into the office in Tweed Heads, close to her home in northern New South Wales.
In just over four years with Feros Care, she’s taken maternity leave once, and really appreciates not only the organisation’s paid parental leave scheme but the continued flexibility and support from her managers.
“I can talk to my manager about anything, pitch her an idea and she will try her best to make it happen,” Kerry says. “She recently increased our second session time with clients by 15 minutes, because those sessions were taking longer than we thought, she took our feedback very seriously.”
“We have monthly clinical meetings to talk through policy and procedure. And there is the team chat you can use at any time, and so many programs you can tap into to help clients.”
Ultimately, she says what keeps her in her role is seeing how drastically you can improve someone’s quality of life with something as simple as a chat.
“It’s so nice to build a rapport with someone who may not have many people in their lives. They may not have many friends, or their family has moved away.
“You can make such a massive difference to someone’s day. And it always feels good to help someone.”
Ready to take on a new career as a physiotherapist with Feros Care?
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