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Profile: community physiotherapists

16/05/2018

Above photo: physiotherapists (from left): Fiona, Jon and David from Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre celebrate National Physiotherapy Month with members of the VCH Physiotherapy Practice Support Leadership Team.

May is National Physiotherapy Month. To celebrate, the 400 Vancouver Coastal Health physiotherapists and rehabilitation assistants would like to share what they do every day. From highly specialized acute care settings in Vancouver to small rural community settings in Bella Coola, VCH physiotherapists and rehabilitation assistants treat a wide range of people and conditions. This week we are highlighting our community physiotherapists!

Community physiotherapists

Home and Community Care services provide a range of health care and support services to people who have acute, chronic, palliative or rehabilitative health care needs. Over 75% of people requiring home care are seniors who require assistance in managing physical and cognitive limitations. Clients may require services for short term care once released from hospital or for support to continue to live at home.  Overall, home-based physiotherapy programs help ensure continuity of care by facilitating the transition from hospital to home and allow clients to remain at home for as long as possible.

Physiotherapists in the community provide assessment, short-term treatment and education to patients and their families, both in community clinics and in the client's home depending on the situation. They will assist with aids for mobility as well as help to improve or maintain the client's physical and functional abilities. Home Health physiotherapists also help make it safer and easier for clients to get around both in their homes and in the community through falls prevention education and progressive strengthening exercise programs. 

In Vancouver Home Health, there are seven Community Health Centres that employ over 20 physiotherapists, three full time rehabilitation assistants as well as three part time rehabilitation assistants in the Adult Day program. There are also physiotherapists on community teams associated with GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre as well as five physiotherapists in the community that provide services to school-aged children.  

In Richmond, home care Physiotherapists and one Rehab Assistant provide services by district and work closely with the interdisciplinary team. There are similar structures on the North Shore, Sea to Sky corridor, the Sunshine Coast as well as Bella Coola to support communities across VCH.

Home-based physiotherapy programs are cost-effective when considering the long-term impact on future health care service use. For rural communities with limited access to physiotherapy services, tele-rehabilitation produces similar outcomes to home interventions with relatively low costs while still maintaining a high rate of patient satisfaction and is being explored in the rural and remote communities within Vancouver Coastal Health.   

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