The Value of Physiotherapy
As pressure to limit the growth in overall health care costs increases, it is essential to have a good understanding of the value provided by specific health care services.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) contracted two health economists to provide an evidence-based and relevant valuation of physiotherapy across 13 issues.
Information from their report has been condensed to a series of information sheets that support the value of physiotherapy.
Read the report findings below, and share this information with your patients, clients, and health care decision-makers.
Cardiac disease is a leading cause of death in Canada; approximately 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Physiotherapy is integral to effective multi-disciplinary cardiovascular rehabilitation (CR). Treatment by a physiotherapist has a significant impact on the physical function and overall quality of life (QOL) in individuals with cardiac disease.
Approximately 50% of all Canadians are living with at least one chronic health condition. Many of these patients are receiving team-based primary health care, where they can benefit from accessing a wide range of providers, including physiotherapists, for management and prevention of future health problems.
Chronic Lung Disease
In Canada there is a high and growing incidence and prevalence of chronic lung disease. It is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. One in four individuals will be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and receive treatment for the disease during their lifetime. Exercise and physical activity training, prescribed by a physiotherapist, is an essential component of PR programs for improving functional performance and quality of life (QOL).
Physiotherapists working in the emergency department (ED) play an integral role in the assessment, diagnosis, triage and management of patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and frail elderly patients showing a decline in function. Physiotherapists assess and treat mobility issues, provide instruction on appropriate mobility aids and facilitate safe discharge planning from the ED.
In Canada, the average cost per fall requiring hospitalization is approaching $30,000. This significant economic burden highlights the need for increased falls prevention programs. Physiotherapy is highly effective in preventing and reducing the risk of falls, and in the assessment and management of fall- related injuries in older adults.
Over 75% of people requiring home care are seniors who require assistance in managing physical and cognitive limitations. Physiotherapy provided in the home lowers mortality rates related to falls and the risk and rate of falls in older adults, reduces number of nursing home admissions and hospitalizations, and decreases hospital length of stay (LOS).
Intensive Care Unit
Prolonged immobilization in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) puts patients at risk for complications such as deconditioning, ICU-related weakness, myopathy and neuropathy, respiratory infections, and contractures. Physiotherapy treatment in the ICU is focused on early mobilization of critically ill patients and respiratory management of patients who are ventilator dependent. Early intervention by a physiotherapist leads to improvements in quality of care.
Physiotherapists play an important role in the perioperative management of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients, from pre-operative triaging for surgical candidacy, to pre-operative education for patients scheduled for surgery and postoperative rehabilitation in the hospital and the community.
Low Back Pain
Four out of five Canadians experience at least one episode of low back pain (LBP) at some point in their life. Physiotherapy for patients with LBP is effective in reducing both acute and chronic pain while significantly limiting the risk of increased disability and chronic conditions.
Eleven million Canadians over the age of 12 years old are affected by musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions annually. Strong evidence exists to support physiotherapy in their treatment. Physiotherapy contributes to improved physical function, allowing individuals to return to healthy living, including return to work and recreational activities.
Pediatric physiotherapy is effective in the management of perinatal conditions, conditions diagnosed in early childhood, and injuries sustained throughout childhood and the transition to adult care. Pediatric physiotherapy improves physical function and quality of life. Its longterm benefits are significant and include reducing disability and the need for surgery or other more costly invasive interventions resulting in a decreased burden on future use of health care services.
Primary Health Care
Physiotherapists working in primary health care teams maximize mobility in response to the needs of patients across the lifespan. Physiotherapists help ensure continuity of care for patients and their families across the care continuum.
Approximately 50,000 Canadians have a stroke each year; 75% of those surviving are left with some level of disability. Physiotherapy for stroke survivors is an integral part of the rehabilitation treatment plan. As members of stroke teams, physiotherapists address physical function issues and prevention of subsequent strokes, which are key determinants of quality of life (QOL).