The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) is aware of concerns regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The CPA is committed to supporting physiotherapists, patients, and public health efforts, as well as providing reliable information to support sound decision-making.

We encourage CPA members to monitor the situation ongoing and remain vigilant in staying up to date with reliable and evidence-based sources.

The WHO has declared that the COVID-19 outbreak can be characterized as a pandemic.

The Public Health Agency of Canada provides regular updates on:

  • the current situation, including the number of confirmed cases in Canada,
  • the risk to the Canadian Population, and
  • how Canada is monitoring the spread of cases.

How to Prepare and Protect: Your Patients, Yourself, and Your Team

What CPA members need to know to provide care safely and to mitigate transmission where possible, to protect their patients, and to protect themselves: communication and prevention are key strategies to helping keep your team and your patients healthy.

Front line tips for patients and practitioners:

  • Wash your hands often, before and after providing treatment. Encourage patients to wash their hands often while in the clinic.
    • Place additional signage in and around the clinic to encourage regular handwashing.
  • Maintain social distancing; two-metre distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face.
  • Cough into your elbow.
  • Ensure that alcohol-based hand sanitizers and/or a handwashing station is available.
  • Ensure that staff wash down equipment frequently – e.g. following patient use.
  • Share a message with your patients to remind them not to come into the clinic if they experience symptoms.
  • Hold regular team meetings with staff to review this information and provide any updates.

(WHO, 2020)

The following are links to important information for health professionals, including physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants.

Are you or your patients planning/returning from travel?

Front Line Support: Epidemic Response Recommendations Supported by the CPA

Additional information and advice can be accessed online at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy webpage.

  • Ensure that there is enough supply and access to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front line staff.
  • Ensure that staff have an opportunity to take adequate breaks during and between shifts.
  • Ensure access to appropriate support services for psychological health of staff.

(WCPT, 2020)

References

Government of Canada. (2020). Travel health notices: Travel health and safety. Retrieved from https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices

Government of Canada. (28 February 2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html.

Government of Canada. (2020). Coronavirus infection: Symptoms and Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus.html.

Public Health Ontario. (July 2019). IPAC Checklist for clinical office practice: Core elements. Retrieved from https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/checklist-clinical-office-core.pdf?la=en

World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance: Infection prevention and control. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/infection-prevention-and-control.

World Health Organization. (29 January 2020). Advice on the use of masks in the community, during home care and in healthcare settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications-detail/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak.

World Health Organization. (30 January 2020). Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/30-01-2020-statement-on-the-second-meeting-of-the-international-health-regulations-(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov).