Physiotherapy research

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physiotherapy centre

Physiotherapy research at the Royal Women’s Hospital is embedded in autonomous and multidisciplinary clinical practice within the Women’s health and Paediatric service streams.

The Women’s health stream has a focus on pelvic floor function, maternity care, diabetes management, pelvic pain, sexual function and oncology. The Paediatric clinical stream focuses on early assessment and intervention for preterm and high-risk infants and includes specialist occupational therapy and speech pathology services.

Research projects

Women’s health physiotherapy

PeriCoach® system-assisted pelvic floor exercises in the management of female stress urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a complex disorder.  This complicates the search for effective treatments, though pelvic floor muscle exercises form the mainstay of conservative treatment.  The PeriCoach™ system comprises a novel vaginal sensor device, web portal and smartphone app to assist with motivation and adherence to pelvic floor muscle exercises.  The device provides biofeedback by detecting pelvic floor muscle activity during guided exercise, and transmits this data to a smartphone or table via Bluetooth, which is subsequently available in a secure database.  The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the PeriCoach™ in females with stress, or mixed (predominantly stress) urinary incontinence and the impact on quality of life with its use. 

Management of post-partum urinary retention (PPUR)

Multidisciplinary inpatient management of post-partum urinary retention is well documented in this hospital with a prescribed algorithm to be followed by clinical ward staff. However, one of the critical factors which triggers a cascade of events, is for the woman to have a residual bladder volume of >150ml after any 2 consecutive voids. This figure is an historical value, and it is not known whether it is a reasonable volume to begin catheterisation. This study will help to determine a residual volume value that correlates with ongoing voiding symptoms.

Paediatric physiotherapy

The paediatric multi-disciplinary team research focuses on early assessment and intervention for preterm and high-risk infants.

The Victorian Infant Collaborative Study (VICS)

The Victorian Infant Collaborative Study (VICS) is a long term study of prematurely born infants throughout their childhood and into adulthood. VICS has been working towards better understanding the extent of long-term health problems that occur in the tiniest (those of birth weight < 1000g) and most premature (those of <28 weeks of gestation) babies born in Victoria

The Victorian Infant Brain Study (VIBeS)

The Victorian Infant Brain Study (VIBeS) research group looks at brain injury and early brain development in premature and sick infants using state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques. They also focus on identifying factors that influence brain maturation in sick infants and determine how they are associated with neurobehavioural development.