Covid-19 and Physiotherapy
Authored by Anthony Imms.
Should you continue to see your Physio, OT or Podiatrist?
The WA Health Department, State and Federal governments, the National Disability Insurance Agency and our Professional bodies have all continually insisted throughout the Covid-19 crisis that Physiotherapy and other allied health professions such as Occupational Therapy and Podiatry are essential services, and should continue to be provided to people face-to-face. Not only are these authorities allowing our services to continue, they are actively encouraging us do so.
Here are some of the main considerations behind this:
Social distancing and isolation can have the unintended and harmful consequence of decreased activity resulting in reduced strength and cardiopulmonary deconditioning.
Older people, those with multiple health problems and those with disabilities are at greater risk of deterioration if services are not provided. This will lead to an increased risk of hospitalisation, at a time when we want to avoid hospitals as much as possible.
Best practice treatment and rehab can be followed while simultaneously respecting social distancing. These are not mutually exclusive and can be done together to optimize someone’s health and keep everyone as safe as possible.
Face-to-face consultations, by health professionals following the appropriate guidelines, can reduce the loneliness experienced by older people isolating, having a positive effect on their emotional well-being.
What are we doing to ensure everyone is safe?
Our health professionals will not visit anyone if they themselves, or the patient:
– is unwell at all;
– has been outside of the state in the last 14 days;
– has had contact with a known Covid-19 case.
Please advise us if this applies to you.
Our health professionals adhere to strict hand washing procedures, which is recommended to reduce risk of spread. We ask all our patients to do the same. Our health professionals maintain distance during the appointment where appropriate. When close supervision is required for safety, we will be close, but most of the appointment can be undertaken whilst observing a 1.5m distance.
Face masks are not recommended by the Department of Health, unless someone is in direct contact with a known or suspected Covid-19 case. As a result, we do not routinely wear face masks at appointments. However, we can wear one at a patient’s request, if this provides additional peace of mind.
What other treatment options are there?
Whilst face-to-face consultations are strongly preferred and recommended, we do offer the option of a Telehealth consultation. Please speak to your Physiotherapist or other health professional about how this works. Face-to-face consultations are strongly encouraged to continue. The risks associated with not having treatment for many, outweigh the very small risk of contracting Covid-19 in the community currently. We continue to monitor the situation, which is still evolving, and we will always be guided by the advice of the Department of Health, our professional bodies and the Government.
Please speak to your Health Professional directly if you require any further clarification or have any concerns.
Stay safe, stay well and let’s look after each other.