Meet Ellen – Physiotherapist

Sep 30, 2022

A young boy is sitting on a white horse during hippotherapy. He is surrounded by four people who are assisting.

Meet Ellen Phillips, one of our experienced Physiotherapists at Rocky Bay! 

Ellen joined Rocky Bay three years ago, and made the switch from private practice to the disability sector after supporting customers living with disability, realising this is what she wanted to do full time. 

Rocky Bay is trialling a pilot of hippotherapy (horse riding therapy) with some customers, and Ellen has been attending these sessions at Riding for the Disabled in Bullsbrook! 

Find out more about Ellen and her varied and rewarding role with Rocky Bay with our Q&A. 

What does a typical day look like for you?  

A typical work day for me consists of seeing customers to support them to achieve their therapy goals. This can be in the in the gym or their homes, as well as going to the pool for hydrotherapy sessions or going to Riding for the Disabled Bullsbrook for hippotherapy sessions!  

For those who aren’t sure, can you explain what a physio does?  

My role as a physiotherapist is to assist individuals to restore movement, mobility and function. Physiotherapists assess, analyse, diagnose, plan and manage the care of patients across a broad range of areas with musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and neurological problems.  

Back to hippotherapy, can you explain what that is and why it’s important? 

Hippotherapy is a form of physical therapy in which a therapist uses the movements of a horse to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input.  

It’s not “horse riding” in which an individual uses cues to influence and ride a horse, but instead the movement of the horse/pony is used to provide facilitation and influence the customer to achieve therapeutic goals. It is important as it can assist adults and children with a wide range of conditions to improve their balance, postural control and core strength, increase upperlimb function and normalize muscle tone, as well as improve gross motor skills and increase their confidence. 

Tell us more about your previous experience in the disability sector?  

My experience in the disability sector is predominantly with adults with neurological conditions, and moderate to complex disability. I particularly enjoy working with customers with ataxia, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and stroke. I have also worked with paediatrics and customers with intellectual disabilities. Previously I worked in the private practice setting.  

What do you love most about your role?  

I love supporting customers to work towards their goals. There is nothing better than an individual being able to achieve a new skill or improve their mobility in a functionally meaningful way. 

What do you love to do in your free time?  

I enjoy spending my time outdoors and being active. I enjoy riding my horse Noodles, spending time with my dog and cat, playing netball and going running. 

What are three things you can’t live without and why? 

1. My animals – they bring me lots of love and joy 

2. The outdoors – I always feel refreshed and energised after spending time outside 

3. Coffee – it tastes great and provides a good morning boost!  

Click here to read more about Ellen’s customer, Anthony, and his experience with Hippotherapy!

Click here to find out how our physiotherapy services can support you, or call our Customer Engagement team on 6282 1900.

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