Posted 10th August 2016
It is apparent that those in very specialist professions such as Sports Rehabilitation, have experienced some difficulty for many years, when compared to more well known professions such as Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists. It is perceived that the profession lacks some of the credibility that other professions have, due to its relative infancy.
The aim of this article will be to look into the value of Sports Rehabilitators within case management and what they may be able to add to an already strong field of rehabilitation case management professionals.
Some individuals within the case management arena argue that Sports Rehabilitators lack knowledge of the NHS, as for the vast majority there are limited opportunities within the NHS for Sports Rehabilitators and university placements do not normally include any NHS based experience. For this reason it could be argued that they are unaware of pathology and associated symptoms of serious illness.
Having spoken to those within the industry it is apparent that the multidisciplinary nature of case management can make the issue above less important. The Right Touch Regulation which is part of the Professional Standards Agency (PSA) advises that it is safer for practitioners and more successful overall for different disciplines to work collaboratively. Therefore a team with practitioners from different backgrounds is normally a lot more successful than one with just one discipline.
Sports Rehabilitators normally come in to case management from many different backgrounds, whether it be private practice, working as a sole trader, working within sports teams or even within the NHS. Therefore it could be argued that they can sometimes be more resilient and more adaptable to change, when compared to more traditional professions.
For around a decade now the main difficulty with Sports Rehabilitation has been the lack of recognition with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), which is considered the "gold standard" by most when considering health professionals. BASRaT- British Association of Sports Rehabilitators and Trainers (one of the main clinical bodies for Sports Rehabilitators) has attempted to gain entry to the HCPC. However, moving forward the government wishes to regulate newer health care professions through the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), as such there will be no further additions to the HCPC form of regulation. BASRaT and its members are regulated under the PSA and are regulated the same way as Psychotherapists and Acupuncturists.
The PSA audit and scrutinise professional bodies to ascertain whether practitioners are fit to practice and they encourage the sharing of good practice knowledge in the form of multidisciplinary teams. Each year a certain number for members are selected and their CPD is appraised to ensure that their best practice is with current professional standards, in a similar framework to the HCPC.
BASRaT are audited yearly by the PSA and their Fitness to Practice guidelines are monitored by Capsticks Solicitors’, who are one of the main contributors in the medical legal industry. This review ensures that the best practice regulations are being met and that Sports Rehabiliators are fit to practice.
The fitness to practice regulations gives Sports Rehabilitators £5million in indemnity insurance, which is underwritten by the same insurer as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP). Each member is regulated by their Declaration of Best Practice and the indemnity insurance is dependent on each practitioner working within their remit. Additional insurance can be aquired for those practitioners that do additional qualifications.
BASRaT accredited institutions provide three year courses, which focus on musculoskeletal injury assessment; pathology; human anatomy; human physiology; biomechanics; injury treatment and management.
Due to the background of many Sports Rehabilitators they have significant experience of acute trauma, due to working within a pitch side setting, activity specific rehabilitation skills and a knowledge of the working market, as most of our patients are of working age (which is not the case in some professions).
The PSA recently wrote the rethinking regulation, which argues that an overhaul is required to support rather than stand in the way of serious changes proposed for our younger health professions. Some of the newer professions are being disregarded in regards to their older and more established counterparts.
In conclusion Sports Rehabilitators do have a value in case management, within the low, moderate and some specific high value cases. Due to their background they are particularly valuable when setting return to function and functional goals and with motivation in reaching their goals. The nature of the individual and the background of those which practice under this title means that they are able to separate their patient from their symptoms and factor in their needs specific to the recovery that they require.
Most Sports Rehabilitators' have business related knowledge when entering a Rehabilitation Case Manager role, due to their experience with working in many different clinic settings. It is likely that they would have come from private practice and for this reason they are well prepared for the challenges they encounter when speaking to non medical teams of people, such as insurers and solicitors.
Larger case management companies are acknowledging this by recruiting more people with a Sports Rehabilitation background, so it is now up to those utilising the services of case managers to recognise the value that the Sport Rehabilitation profession can offer in a multidisciplinary approach to case management.
In a recent discussion with Chris Bartlett – CMSUK Director and RehabWorks Chronic Condition and Case Management Services Lead, he added the following comment: “As a Sports Rehabilitator working in the profession of Case Management for over 10 years, the profession of Sports Rehabilitation continues to be seen unfairly as an inferior profession against other HCPC professionals. This must change! The contribution Sports Rehabilitators can provide within a multidisciplinary setting to all levels of case management is of upmost importance to the progression of the case management profession.” I think that with increased recognition of the profession and once our counterpart’s progress in to more senior positions and become recognised, there will be a change in the assumptions around Sports Rehabilitators in Case Management.
Written by Chris Mayall BSc (Hons) GSR