PEDro thanks physiotherapy organisations for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic

The PEDro team expresses its thanks and appreciation to physiotherapy organisations for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues to impact worldwide, the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) and its Member Organisations (including the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) have provided guidance, support and direction for the global physiotherapy community. We pay tribute to your expertise, governance, and humility.

Physiotherapists and physiotherapy organisations have been providing frontline care, implementing telehealth services, and contributing to public health campaigns during the pandemic. We will highlight some key initiatives and resources in this post.

The first version of the consensus guideline for physiotherapy management of COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting has been shared over 42,000 times. This guideline is now available in 23 languages. The English version is published in the Journal of Physiotherapy. The Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Croatian/Bosnian, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese versions are available on the WCPT web-site. As we highlighted in our April blog, this 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.

WCPT has produced a COVID-19 hub. Indexing campaigns, resources and educational materials from reputable sources, this hub provides physiotherapists with a wealth of information about working during the pandemic. Importantly, WCPT have launched the #PPE4PT advocacy campaign. This campaign calls on governments around the world to provide the correct personal protective equipment for all physiotherapists.

More guidance is now available for physiotherapists switching to telehealth. WCPT and the International Network of Physiotherapy Regulatory Authorities collaborated to produce a white paper on physiotherapy practice in the digital age that is available in English. Produced by BMJ and a number of medical organisations, the Telehealth Toolbox is a collection of guidelines and practical tools that aims to accelerate the adoption of telehealth practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physiotherapy-specific guidance is available from the Australian Physiotherapy Association. The Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine at the University of Melbourne is offering is offering free on-line training in their Physiotherapy Exercise and physical Activity for Knee osteoarthritis (PEAK) program.

This month we highlight resources designed to encourage three patient groups to stay active and exercise: older people, patients recovering from COVID-19, and children and adults with intellectual impairments. A group of Australian physiotherapists have just launched a web-site to support older people to exercise at home. This resource includes sections for older people and the health professionals supporting them. Multi-disciplinary health professionals at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals have developed a resource to assist patients with COVID-19 and their families starting their rehabilitation journey. The site includes exercise videos for the initial recovery phase. Special Olympics Asia Pacific have developed an inclusive fitness app geared specifically to individuals with intellectual disabilities. The SPROUT app aims to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to live a healthy lifestyle through the gamification of simple exercise.

Staying positive will help us all navigate the pandemic. Two videos from the United Kingdom provide some inspiration. The first was produced by the BBC and illustrates simple strategies to stay positive. The second, called #WeRemember, was produced by The Social Co social media marketing company to highlight positivity and togetherness. The Australian children’s music group The Wiggles, who are well known to many physiotherapists in Australia and the USA, have released a song to show that social distancing doesn’t have to be a scary conversation.

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