PEDro honours physiotherapists and other healthcare workers providing frontline care for COVID-19

The PEDro team pays tribute to physiotherapists and other healthcare workers who are providing frontline care during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We honour your bravery, dedication and expertise, and extend our sincere gratitude for your work. You have the support of the global physiotherapy community.

As this pandemic continues to impact worldwide, physiotherapists have worked collaboratively to provide frontline care, guidance for global physiotherapy practice, education and training, and public health messaging. We will highlight some key initiatives and resources in this post.

A group of international (Australia, Belgium, Canada, United Kingdom) experts in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy have come together to rapidly prepare a consensus guideline for physiotherapy management of COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting. The guideline covers workforce planning and preparation plus the delivery of physiotherapy interventions. There are 17 recommendations for workforce planning, 7 recommendations for screening to determine indications for physiotherapy, 16 for respiratory physiotherapy interventions, 11 for physiotherapy mobilisation, exercise and rehabilitation interventions, and 15 for the use of personal protective equipment. To date the guideline has been endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Association of Chartered Society of Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care UK, Associazione Riabilitatori dell’ Insufficienza Respiratoria, International Confederation of Cardiorespiratory Physical Therapists, and World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT).

The first version of the guideline for physiotherapy management for COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Physiotherapy:
Thomas P, Baldwin C, Bissett B, Boden I, Gosselink R, Granger CL, Hodgson C, Jones AYM, Kho ME, Moses R, Ntoumenopoulos G, Parry SM, Patman S, van der Lee L. Physiotherapy management for COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting: clinical practice recommendations. Journal of Physiotherapy 2020;66(2):73-82
The plan is to revise and release new versions of the guideline as more is known about the treatment of COVID-19.

WCPT and Physiopedia are both making important contributions to education and training. WCPT have collated a range of physiotherapy-specific information and resources. Physiotherapists can subscribe to the WCPT mailing list to stay informed. Physiopedia are offering a free online course on COVID-19 for participants to learn more about the pandemic from a physiotherapy perspective.

Physiotherapists and other healthcare workers have also added significant support to the public health campaign for social distancing. This has been done in many countries, and we link to two great examples from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7:30 program.

Self care is incredibly important during this difficult time. MindSpot has released a list of 10 psychological tips for staying resilient while social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine measures are in place. These include getting the right information from trusted sources; switching off ‘noise’ like social media or the 24-hour news cycle; getting organised; keeping healthy routines; and staying engaged. Trusted sources of information include the World Health Organization and the Department of Health in your country or state (for example, the Ministry of Health for Singapore).

Staying physically active will help your mental and physical health. The QuaranTrain initiative provides great suggestions for how to exercise under social distancing, self-isolation and even quarantine conditions. This valuable resource was conceived by a group of physiotherapy students from the HAN University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and is available in Dutch and English.

Finally, we leave you with some words from an inspirational leader. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, reminds us that: “We will get through this together, but only if we stick together. Be strong and be kind.”

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