Paediatric Spinal Outreach Service (PSOS)

Funded by NSW Health, the Paediatric Spinal Outreach Service (PSOS) provides comprehensive community based outreach services and supports for children and adolescents aged 0 – 18 with an acquired spinal cord injury (SCI) who live in NSW.

Northcott delivers this specialist children’s service across NSW with a team of fully accredited, experienced and committed physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and clinical nurse specialists.

Our team works with children and adolescents who have acquired a spinal cord injury through:

  • Accidents and falls
  • Spinal tumours
  • Vascular causes such as an AVM or spinal stroke
  • Complications from spinal surgery
  • Transverse myelitis

Acquiring a spinal cord injury is life-changing. Our team works with you and your child to determine your needs, and develop a plan so that your child can achieve their goals and reach their potential. We can support your child through all the major transitions in their life, including assisting with a smooth transition from hospital to home, attending specialists appointments and supporting the transition to school.

Northcott’s multidisciplinary team aims to get the best outcomes for your child through age-appropriate rehabilitation following spinal cord injury. Children are seen at the home, at school, in hospital clinics or in the community. Our services are provided in face-to-face settings or via phone, email or video conferencing.

We also support other family members, carers, local therapists, local practitioners, schools, sports teams and recreational groups. For example, we liaise with children’s hospitals and local services in your local metropolitan or regional area and provide consultation and support in schools including working with school staff and peers on spinal specific education sessions, equipment modifications, health care plans or adjustments to the curriculum. If required, we can also attend meetings with teachers, offer training for teacher’s aides and provide support for excursions. We also collaborate with the Lifetime Care and Support Authority of NSW and other insurance providers to get the best for you and your child.

What we can offer

Nursing

Our clinical nurse specialist provides expert clinical rehabilitation nursing services including:

  • Health maintenance programs to assist with issues relating to skin care, personal care, pain, autonomic dysreflexia, bowel and bladder management
  • Education programs to reduce the incidence of complications such as pressure sores, urinary tract infections and respiratory infections 

Occupational Therapy

Our occupational therapists aim to promote, retain and restore your child’s independence in everyday tasks. Our services include:

  • Rehabilitative therapy to promote independence in all daily living tasks from dressing to driving
  • Modifications to the home and school environments to improve access and support independence
  • Assessment and provision of manual and powered wheelchairs, self-care equipment (e.g. shower/toileting aides) and other equipment to support goals
  • Assessment, education and management of pressure care prevention and treatment

Physiotherapy

Our physiotherapists aim to maximise physical strength, fitness and movement, as well as support independent skill development and promote participation in physical activity. Our services include: 

  • Musculoskeletal and neurodevelopment assessment
  • Rehabilitation to maximise function and participation
  • Prevention/minimisation of secondary complications of spinal cord injury on the growing body
  • Prescription and training in the use of specialised equipment (e.g. standing, recreational)
  • Support and assistance around inclusion in a range of sports and recreational activities
  • Consultation and trials of innovative therapies
  • Training, mentoring and problem solving with local therapists
  • Provision of resources for local therapists
  • Joint or group therapy sessions in person or via videoconference

Social Work

Our social worker provides support services to assist the whole family to adjust to a new way of living with a child with an acquired spinal cord injury. Our services include: 

  • Specialised assessment of psycho-social support needs
  • Emotional support (e.g. talking through concerns, counselling, peer support, referral)
  • Practical support (e.g. accessing the NDIS, financial, housing, respite, home care, support letters)
  • Working with you to develop personalised support plans
  • Information about services, events and accessible activities in your local community
  • Advocacy, problem solving and support in liaison with government departments, schools and community groups

Meet your local team

Deb Woodforde

Physiotherapist

“I have over 20 years of experience and enjoy working closely with my customers. I believe that physical disability is never a barrier to living a fulfilling life.”

Erin Rooke

Social Worker

“I am passionate about assisting customers to recognise their strengths and uniqueness, and receive the practical and emotional support they need to be who they want to be.”

What our customers can expect from us

We are committed to you. As part of our service delivery, you can expect:

Personalised service – We tailor our support to your individual priorities and needs and then work together to help you achieve your goals.

Proactive communications – We keep in touch with you and your support network regularly.

Easy access to service – We provide support in your home, at school, in hospital or in the community as is needed. You can contact your team by email or phone at any time.

Extensive resources – We have access to a wide range of resources, as well as the latest research on rehabilitation following a spinal cord injury.

When and where this service is available?

The PSOS is a state-wide service providing support to children and families throughout NSW. We welcome you to call us on 1800 818 286 to chat to our friendly team about how we can assist you and your child following a spinal cord injury or diagnosis.

Funding information

The PSOS is funded by NSW Health. Services and supports delivered by Northcott through the PSOS are free of charge. The Children’s Hospital Network, your specialist, allied health team or insurer/case manager can refer you to the PSOS.

Northcott provides a range of other services and supports for children and adults with disability. Many of these services are funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We can also support customers who would like to pay for services using their own funds, or if they have a different type of state or Australian government funding, such as Enable. Call us on 1800 818 286 to discuss your situation.

FAQs

Paediatric Spinal Outreach Service (PSOS) FAQs

Who is the PSOS service for?

The PSOS is for children living in NSW aged 0-18 years with an acquired spinal cord injury (SCI). To access the service, the spinal cord injury must be acquired and not congenital. It can be acquired as a result of accidents and falls, a spinal tumour, vascular causes such as an AVM or spinal stroke, complications from spinal surgery and/or transverse myelitis.

How do I access the PSOS?

Most children and families are referred to the PSOS through the Children’s Hospital Network, their specialists and/or allied health team following a spinal cord injury or diagnosis. We also receive referrals from Lifetime Care and Support Authority NSW, insurers and case managers. You can be referred to the service at any time. Services are delivered at home, at school, in hospital clinics or the community through face-to-face sessions or by phone, email or video conferencing.

Where is this service based?

The PSOS is a NSW state-wide service, meaning we provide SCI outreach services and supports to children (and their families) who live anywhere in NSW. Our services are available in all regional and metropolitan areas of NSW. Northcott’s multidisciplinary team of therapists, social workers and clinical nurse specialists deliver the service on behalf of NSW Health, in settings suitable for your child and family. Our team is based throughout NSW. Contact us on 1800 818 286 to discuss your situation.

How do I pay for the PSOS?

There is no charge for the PSOS.