Scope of Practice
The profession of physiotherapy is an integral component of the Canadian and Nova Scotia health care delivery system. As a part of this system, physiotherapists work closely with other health professionals including physicians, occupational therapists, nurses, speech pathologists, social workers, respiratory therapists, and massage therapists.
A physician's referral is not required in order to see a physiotherapist, and it is common for physiotherapists to treat both patients who have been referred to them by a physician, and patients who come in to clinics without a referral. Following assessment, individual treatment programs are designed, with the patient's participation where possible. Physiotherapy is an active partnership between patient and therapist.
Physiotherapists have:· a detailed understanding of how the body works;
· knowledge of disease, injury and the healing process; and
· the ability to distinguish what is normal from abnormal in posture, balance and movement.
Physiotherapists use:· skilled "hands on" treatments such as soft tissue mobilization, acupressure and manipulation;
· lasers, ultrasound, magnetic fields, electrical currents, acupuncture, and heat and ice to relieve pain and assist recovery;
· individually prescribed exercise programs, relaxation techniques, sophisticated diagnostic and treatment equipment, hydrotherapy and biofeedback; and
· suitable assistive devices such as walking aids, splints, braces, orthotics, prosthetics and other therapeutic appliances and train patients in their correct use.
Physiotherapists treat a wide variety of conditions, including:· back or neck pain;
· posture problems;
· joint or muscle pain;
· breathing problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis;
· rehabilitation following joint replacement;
· difficulty recovering from an illness or from surgery;
· stroke or head injury; and
· bladder control problems.
Physiotherapists may work in one or any combination of the following areas of practice:Burns:
To reduce the risk of deformity during the grafting and healing process, through daily exercise and hydrotherapy.
To act as a consultant to schools, governments, charities, industry, and other organizations within the public and private sectors.
To assist the elderly in maintaining independence by teaching them how to help themselves and use equipment designed to give them more mobility.
To provide patients with ongoing treatment at home, especially after being discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation centre.
To help patients achieve normal or best possible movement following an injury to the nervous system such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease or head injury. Treatment includes exercises, hydrotherapy, gait training, pain relief, muscle strengthening exercises, and joint mobility exercises.
To treat and prevent joint sprains, muscle strains, neck and back complaints, and to restore function following fractures and surgery. Orthopaedics is also concerned with correcting and preventing postural dysfunction, muscular imbalance, and arthritis. Treatment may involve exercises, manual therapy techniques including soft tissue and joint mobilization and manipulation, stress management and relaxation techniques.
To treat children's congenital defects such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis or mental challenges. Also to assess and treat children following injury or disease. Physiotherapists consult and teach parents and caregivers skills and methods to treat children.
To develop and evaluate new and current physiotherapy techniques.
To treat children and adults suffering from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and other lung conditions. Respirology is also important for patients on general surgical wards, in intensive care units, and in coronary care units.
To treat and prevent sports injuries by providing physiotherapy coverage at international, national, provincial and some local sports events. Sports physiotherapy is also involved in community education by counselling and publishing manuals aimed at prevention and care of sports related injuries.
· to teach pre-natal and post-natal programs
· to rehabilitate heart attack patients
· to provide post-surgical care and prosthetic training for amputees
· to assess and improve motor coordination of patients with impaired sight or hearing
· to teach skiing, riding, swimming and wheelchair sports to the disabled
· to plan, organize, and direct treatment and physical activity programs for psychiatric patients.