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About our service

The physiotherapy team in St. Vincent’s Private Hospital play an important role in the patient journey, both on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

The following information will help you to understand how in and outpatient physiotherapy may benefit you.

If you are referred to the physiotherapy service by your consultant or surgeon after having surgery you will be seen by the physiotherapist for some or all of the following reasons:

  • To assist you in early post-surgical mobilisation (walking). Your physiotherapist will discuss with you the many benefits of early mobilisation:
    • Reduces the risk of a post-surgical chest infection
    • Restores your mobility back to pre-surgical levels
    • Prevent falls
    • Reduces the risk of post-surgical clots
    • Helps to control pain, nausea and constipation
    • Reduces the risk of surgical complications
    • May decrease your length of hospital stay
    • May decreases your risk of readmission with post-surgery related complications


  • Advise you on how to get out of bed on your own or with assistance, if required
  • Provide you with an exercise program to strengthen your muscles
  • Guide you on how to return to and possibly improve your pre-surgical levels of physical activity
  • Provide you with a mobility aid, if required


  • Respiratory care (restore normal breathing, clear lungs of phlegm and help prevent of chest infections). Your physiotherapist will teach you:
    • Breathing exercises to optimise your lung function
    • Techniques and use of specific devices that will help clear phlegm from your chest


  • Specific rehabilitation following certain surgeries to:
    • Restore normal movement in your joints that may be affected by surgery e.g. after breast surgery
    • Restore strength to your muscles that may be affected by surgery or periods of inactivity e.g. after liver or colorectal surgery
    • Teach you pelvic floor exercises after gynaecological or prostrate surgery


  • You may also be referred by your consultant for Physiotherapy if you have not had surgery.
    • Common reasons for a Physiotherapy referral include:
    • Ensure safe mobility and minimise your risk of falling
    • Increase your levels of physical activity and improve your overall fitness
    • Optimise muscle strength and endurance
    • Balance rehabilitation
    • Bromote an active lifestyle to further improve overall fitness

It may also involve the education and management of more specific conditions such as

  • Breathlessness – see PIL
  • Cancer related fatigue - see PIL
  • Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy - see PIL

What might an inpatient physiotherapy rehabilitation session look like?

  • An initial assessment of your:
    • Balance and risk of falling
    • Walking pattern
    • joint range of motion and muscle strength

Based on the outcome of the assessment, some or all of the following may apply:

  • Provision of a mobility aid such as a walking stick, crutch or walking frame
  • Provision of a patient specific exercise program
  • One to one rehabilitation with the physiotherapist
    • Room or ward based rehabilitation
    • Gym based rehabilitation
  • Onward to referral to a physiotherapy service near your home
  • Advice and problem solving regarding how you might move safely around your own home

Our senior physiotherapist in Oncology, Emma Bailey, is highly trained and experienced in the assessment and treatment of breast cancer related musculoskeletal issues and Lymphoedema.

She is a registered Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist and experienced in multilayer bandaging

Breast cancer care

Referrals into this service are accepted from:

  • Consultants and surgeons
  • Breast care nurses
  • GPs
  • Physiotherapists
  • Other health professionals
  • Patients themselves (in this case you may need to speak to the physiotherapist before booking an appointment)

Conditions treated

  • Restricted movement of the arm on the operated side
  • Weakness of the arm on the operated side
  • Cording (Axillary web syndrome)
  • Early detection and management of breast cancer related lymphoedema
  • Scar management


Lymphoedema (Breast Cancer related) management

This service aims to provide:

  • Advice and education on the prevention and early detection of lymphoedema, enabling the patient to self-monitor for early signs and symptoms leading to early treatment reducing the risk of lymphoedema progressing into chronic stages
  • Compression therapy – prescribe compression sleeves and systems
  • Exercises to aid lymphatic drainage
  • Simple lymphatic massage (patient led)
  • Skin care advice
  • Kinesiotape
  • Manual Lymphatic drainage (Casley Smith Method)
  • Multi-layer bandaging (short stretch or coban)
  • Advice re general exercise and lifestyle management of lymphoedema

Cancer Physiotherapy Contact

Physiotherapy Department