From providing exercises and manual treatment to supporting postpartum recovery and clients with arthritis, physiotherapists play a vital role in the care continuum. Working with clients from all walks of life to instill confidence, body awareness and overall well-being makes the role of a physiotherapist unique – teaching their clients to continue helping themselves.
May is National Physiotherapy Month and to recognize the important work of more than 400 Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) physiotherapists and rehabilitation assistants, we wanted to highlight what they do every day. From highly specialized acute-care settings in Vancouver to small rural community settings in Bella Coola, these health-care professionals treat a wide range of people and conditions.
Jamey Tozer, a physiotherapist in Powell River, works in home and community care and enjoys the wide variety of clients in a small town, adding that she often see his clients after work when doing errands in town.
“Our client population is quite diverse in Powell River – with a high number of residents with chronic illnesses, a recent population surge of retirees and about 12 group homes. Add those factors to the north region inhabitants of First Nation peoples, oyster farmers and fisherman, to the mill workers of town, to the residents of Texada Island and you have a good representation of the types of clients we treat here."
This varied population means that physiotherapists need to be incredibly resourceful – especially when working in rural communities such as Powell River. This flexible nature of physiotherapists has come in handy with the changing landscape and precautions due to COVID-19.
“As physiotherapists working in a remote community, we're no strangers to problem solving and thinking outside the box and the current COVID-19 challenge is no exception," says Gemma Dickson, Powell River physiotherapist, adding that the team is constantly adapting to new policies to protect their patients, residents, clients, our communities and ourselves. “I'm now doing video assessments and consults where appropriate with residents, as well as taking on some additional responsibilities within my scope of practice to help ensure residents continue to receive quality care."
Natalia Brown, who is also a physiotherapist in Powell River, says adapting to new ways of treating clients during COVID-19 was challenging at first, but with some practice, became extremely effective.
“My clients have been great at adapting to the new way of doing things and taking the responsibility for doing their home exercise programs," she says, adding that she even had videos of some exercises posted to the VCH Youtube channel to share with her patients. “They found the videos very useful and enjoyed doing exercises daily."
On behalf of everyone at VCH, thank you to our dedicated physiotherapists who are constantly learning and striving for better results – even during these challenging times. For always putting their clients first and finding innovative ways to deliver exceptional care.