Aspiring Health Professionals key to successful Mount Isa Rehab Service


Aspiring occupational therapists and physiotherapists are gaining important on-the-ground experience in the North West Community Rehabilitation Centre in Mount Isa.

Under the supervision of experienced clinical leads, more than 30 university students completed clinical placements during the past 12 months.

Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health’s Allied Health Senior Academic Lead, Linda Ford, said the placements have a big influence on retaining and recruiting a health workforce in rural and remote areas.

“We hope that the student experiences and the opportunity to explore rural lifestyles will help influence their future career choices and they return to work in a rural or remote setting such as ours,” she said.

James Cook University and the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health started the centre as a pilot project in 2010 after educators and service providers identified a significant gap in services for people with neurological or aging conditions.

They also identified a teaching opportunity for university students to support a Sub Acute Community Rehab model.

As the service continued to evolve, funding shifted in 2014 from the Federal Government to State-based through the North West Hospital and Health Service, and partnerships with North West Remote Health, Gidgee Healing and other stakeholders continued through the North West Community Rehabilitation Advisory Group. 

Therapy varies significantly depending on the participants’ goals and community needs, with more than 50 current participants involved in therapy blocks led by students.

The service hosts group and individual sessions in the rehabilitation hall, at home or in the pool, and now through telehealth via the internet.

Participants, stakeholders and staff are invited to attend a planning day on 8 November at 11.30am to shape the North West Community Rehab’s future and provide recommendations for the service’s direction for the next five to 10 years.

North West Community Rehab Program Manager, occupational therapist Kylie Bower (pictured right) said it was important for the 10 year review to occur with all relevant parties  so that the service remained a valued and participant-focused program, with real health benefits for individuals and the community. 

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A Commonwealth funded Department of Rural Health
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