Assessing Urgent Physiotherapy Care during COVID-19 - March 19, 2020
*This has been updated. Please see College of Physical Therapists of BC statement March 26, 2020.
In our recent PABC COVID-19 statement, March 17, 2020, PABC has recommended that clinics close for all non-essential treatment and physiotherapists follow the social distancing recommendations extended by the Public Health authorities across BC and the rest of Canada.
Physiotherapists, as trained first-line responders, should exercise careful consideration and discretion for patients requiring urgent care to protect both the patient and yourselves, especially for senior patients over 70. Physiotherapists practicing in the public sector must follow the guidelines issued by their workplace establishment.
Appointments and Cancellations Considerations
- Non-essential appointments scheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic should be postponed
- Physiotherapists are urged to assess individual emergency appointments scheduled at this time and consider alternative treatment measures such as: Consult and provide treatment by telerehabilitation Offer a home exercise program
Urgency Evaluation Considerations
In addition to the CPTBC’s guidance, we recommend the following considerations should be assessed to determine the urgency of a patient’s need for physiotherapy or medical referral:
- Presence of neurological signs and symptoms
- Signs of trauma
- Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Significant pain or loss of function
- Patients requiring postoperative treatment
- Cardiorespiratory or pediatric conditions requiring sustained treatment or monitoring
Triage of at-risk patients
Patient triage should be performed according to the latest guidelines in effect and considering the heightened risk of certain groups including senior citizens and those who are immunocompromised. Where possible, this triage should be done by telephone or as soon as the patient arrives at the clinic.
*Do not forget to document the telephone or in-person exchanges that led to your decision
Hygiene and Asepsis Measures
Always comply with the latest hygiene and asepsis recommendations issued by the public health authorities. These guidelines have been issued to help preserve the health of the population and limit the spread of sickness and disease.
Here is a snippet from an article published online by the Vancouver Sun March 20, 2020.
Henry said she has not ordered any medical professions to close their offices, but expects them to take measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Dentists, for example, should be providing emergency services only for the duration of the pandemic, she said.
The government is also calling on physiotherapists, occupational therapists and similar professions to keep professionals distant from patients or clients.
“We want to be very careful that elderly people, for example, are not going in to see a physiotherapist or others,” she said.
“I have not made an order that way but that is something that they absolutely should be doing and as a profession I expect them to take those actions.”
View the full press conference by Dr. Bonnie Henry. March 19, 2020. The above statement can be heard from minute 17:00.