What is 'Physiotherapy'?
Physiotherapy services are those that are performed by physiotherapists or any other trained individuals working under a physiotherapist’s direction and supervision. Physiotherapy is anchored in movement sciences and concerned with the function of multiple body systems and aims to enhance or restore function. Physiotherapy is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life. This holistic approach incorporates a broad range of physical and physiological therapeutic interventions and aids.
What is a Registered Physiotherapist?
A Registered Physiotherapist is a University educated and regulated health care professional who seeks to provide safe, quality client centered physiotherapy through a commitment to service availability, accessibility and excellence. Physiotherapists are educated, have advanced clinical expertise and work in many areas including: cardio respiratory, orthopedics, neurology, rheumatology, pediatrics, women's health, seniors' health, and sports therapy. Physiotherapists are dedicated to:
- Improving and maintaining functional independence and physical performance
- Preventing and managing pain, physical impairments, disabilities and limits to participation
- Promoting fitness, health and wellness
Physiotherapists can offer you:
- Assessment of movement, strength, endurance and other physical abilities
- Assessment of the impact of an injury or disability on your physical functioning
- Assessment of physical preparation for work and sports
- Program planning and education to restore movement and reduce pain
- Individualized treatment of an injury or disability based on scientific knowledge, a thorough assessment of the condition, environmental factors and lifestyle.
What are the primary functions of a Physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists apply a collaborative and reasoned approach to holistic assessment, intervention and evaluation, in particular focusing on the musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory systems. The primary functions of a Physiotherapist include, but are not limited to:
- Assessment of clients with actual or potential impairments, pain, functional limitations, disabilities or other health-related conditions using detailed history-taking, as well as specific tests and measures for screening, establishing a diagnosis and monitoring
- Clinical impression resulting from assessment findings and clinical reasoning to determine abilities, functional needs and potential for change
- Planning an intervention strategy that addresses the prognosis and follow-up and incorporates the application of selected approaches and techniques supported by the best evidence available
- Implementing selected interventions safely to relieve pain, achieve and maintain health and fitness, functional independence and physical performance - and manage the identified impairments, disabilities and limits to participation
- Evaluation of health status as a baseline for monitoring or to determine the result, impact or effectiveness of physiotherapy intervention
- Education of the profession, other health professionals, the public and clients with the intention of transferring knowledge and skills and developing understanding, independence and competence
- Consultation that provides professional advice and solutions addressing a wide range of health service and health status issues
- Research that encompasses the application of critical inquiry, as well as participation in or assessment of findings from research activities
- Service management related to planning, directing, organizing and monitoring service delivery and effective utilization of resources
- Communication with clients, team members and others to achieve collaboration and service coordination.
What type of treatments are available at SHAPE?
- Manual therapy (joint mobilizations)
- Myofascial release techniques (MRT, ART®, trigger point release)
- Sports massage
- Acupuncture (medical and with electrical stimulation)
- Therapeutic exercises
- Physical rehabilitation
- Passive and Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) techniques
- Functional retraining
- Work ergonomics
How are Registered Physiotherapists educated?
Most physiotherapists complete a Baccalaureate degree in science, kinesiology or other related discipline before beginning their physiotherapy program. Entry-level physiotherapy education in Canada takes place in one of thirteen university programs, each affiliated with a faculty of medicine and accredited with the Accreditation Council of Canadian Physiotherapy Academic Programs (ACCPAP) and the (US) Council on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
The minimum entry-level educational qualification to practice physiotherapy in Canada is a Baccalaureate level degree. Many programs offer post-graduate programs in physiotherapy, rehabilitation or related disciplines at the Master’s level or Doctoral level.
The entry-level educational curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the study of: biological sciences (e.g. anatomy, physiology, pathology, pathokinesiology); social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology); applied sciences (e.g. human development, biomechanics and exercise physiology); clinical sciences (e.g. physical and functional pharmacology); scientific inquiry (e.g. research, statistics, literature reviews) and professional issues (e.g. health policy, ethics, interdisciplinary practice, management). (CDPAP and CPA, 1995)
In addition, professional practice or clinical education is obtained through a minimum of 1,000 hours, in the clinical setting, which begins with entrance into the academic program and continues throughout the curriculum. This clinical education provides opportunities to integrate knowledge, skills and behaviors required for practice and leads to the development of entry-level physiotherapists who act with authority, competence and leadership.
Increasingly, there is a move towards specialization or the development of advanced expertise in one particular area of the profession. This expertise may be gained through post-graduate education, continuing professional development, experience and research.
How are Physiotherapists regulated in Ontario?
Graduates of physiotherapy programs in Canada are required to successfully complete the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) in order to work in the following provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Upon successful completion of the PCE, candidates receive a Certificate of Completion from the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (The Alliance). Physiotherapists who have received their physiotherapy education outside of Canada must first apply to The Alliance for approval of their credentials.
Once credentialing is completed, the physiotherapist must successfully complete the PCE in order to work in all provinces except Quebec. The PCE is designed to determine that a minimal entry-level standard of practice has been acquired by Canadian-educated and non Canadian-educated physiotherapists.
The PCE is designed to determine whether candidates have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior needed to enter the physiotherapy profession in Canada. The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators administers the PCE and awards the certificates.
What types of settings do Physiotherapists work in?
Physiotherapists work in private and public settings providing client interventions as well as management, educational, research and consultation services. Physiotherapists practice within a broad range of settings that may include but is not confined to the following:
- Child-development centres
- Community health centres
- Fitness centres/health clubs/spas Government/health planning agencies
- Individual homes/home care
- Insurance companies
- Nursing Homes/long term care facilities
- Occupational health centres
- Outpatient/ambulatory care clinics
- Physiotherapy clinics/practices/private offices
- Public settings (e.g. shopping malls) for health promotion
- Rehabilitation Centres
- Research facilities
- Senior citizen centres/residences
- Sporting events/field settings
- Sports medicine clinics
The following are just some examples of how you can benefit from physiotherapy.
- Preventing and treating sports injuries
- Restoring and increasing range of motion in joints
- Increasing coordination
- Counselling and educating in pre-and post-natal care
- Designing 'user-friendly' or ergonomically-correct homes and workplaces
- Educating clients in the use of devices such as canes, crutches and wheelchairs
- Helping injured individuals return to work successfully through 'work hardening' programs
- Alleviating pain
How is Physiotherapy regulated in Canada?
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association is a voluntary membership organization for physiotherapists. The College of Physiotherapists in each province is the licensing and regulatory body for the profession, responsible for safeguarding the public interest related to the delivery of physiotherapy service.
The College is not a school or a university. Its primary role is to protect the patient/public and its secondary role is to guide/direct the profession of physiotherapy. Each College ensures that physiotherapists practicing in a particular province are registered and have met the provincial standards for entry and re-entry to practice.
The College also ensures that all regulated practitioners in their province meet specific standards before being allowed to practice physiotherapy. In order to practice in Canada, physiotherapists require a license or registration from the regulatory board or College of Physiotherapists in their province or territory. (Generally, the terms registration and licensure are used interchangeably).
It is illegal to practice without a license, and there are laws governing the granting of a license and procedures to be followed for revoking a license. REFERENCES: