The Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia's sixth position paper for the Physio Can Help Campaign provides an overview of how Physiotherapy Can Help Improve Health Care for all British Columbians. The paper summarizes the points covered in the previous five papers, released in advance of last year's May 9 provincial election.
British Columbia has over 3800 physiotherapists in public and private practice, who offer significant value to our province's healthcare system. There is a need for our province to recognize the full potential of our physiotherapists and to better utilize their variety of skills within the multi-disciplinary healthcare team setting in our hospitals and out in our communities.
Physiotherapists have the medical training and clinical expertise to effectively manage many patient conditions seen in Primary Care. This paper addresses these health conditions that capable physiotherapists are much less associated with treating, such as cardiac health, pulmonary/respiratory health, pediatric health and fall prevention in older adults.
Working in multi-disciplinary teams with other health professionals, physiotherapists have the skills and knowledge to assess, triage and treat a broad set of health conditions. These highly trained healthcare professionals can treat a broad range of conditions, relieving pressure currently placed on the healthcare system, including General Practitioners (GPs).
Physiotherapists already have been successfully integrated into Primary Care models in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the Canadian and U.S. armed forces. In Ireland, for example, the aim of Primary Care Teams is to treat more patients in the community and to funnel non-acute cases away from hospitals into multidisciplinary community clinics. There, physiotherapists are moving out of hospitals and into these settings, and providing first-line treatment for patients with a range of conditions, including: musculoskeletal injuries, pediatric conditions, acute neurological conditions, fractures, and falls.
Through manual therapy, exercise, education and advice, physiotherapy provides care and treatment for people affected by injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists already maintain health for British Columbians of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, physiotherapy holds the promise of resolving the challenge of successfully implementing Primary Care in British Columbia.
As key players in Primary Health Care delivery with a focus on improving Population Health, physiotherapists can help improve the overall physical well-being and mental health of the people in this province. Through evidence-based assessment and treatment approaches, physiotherapists are able to improve the mobility, strength and ability of their patients, helping to increase patients’ participation in physical and social activities. In public and private practice settings, and as a part of multi-disciplinary teams, physiotherapists provide value to the province’s health care system, contributing to the tangible positive outcomes for patient and population health. When it comes to taking care of the physical and mental health of the province, Physio Can Help.