Many reasons can lead someone to undergo physiotherapy treatments. Some individuals need assistance returning to their daily lives and regular work due to a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, fall, spinal cord injury, mental health condition, cystic fibrosis, transplant or health incident. If you have good physical and mental health, enjoy creative problem-solving and critical thinking and like helping and interacting with people, especially those who are physically, developmentally or emotionally challenged, a physiotherapist assistant diploma for a career as a physiotherapist assistant could be just what you’re looking for.
Physiotherapist Assistants receive unique training, including some material that is similar to psw courses, to work with registered occupational therapists and physiotherapists, allowing patients to cope with their limitations in movement, function, activity or performance, whether temporary or permanent. With an ever-increasing number of aging individuals requiring assistance to continue a full life, the need has never been greater for occupational therapists, physiotherapists and their assistants. While a great deal of work is with seniors, there’s also much to be done with those dealing with chronic conditions such as arthritis, or recovering from surgery or health conditions such as cancer or a stroke.
As a physiotherapist assistant, you will be tasked with awakening your patients’ physical potential, allowing them to achieve their health goals.
As with other healthcare professions, the role of Physiotherapist Assistant demands candidates who are compassionate, empathetic and demonstrate a genuine concern for people. Since you are interacting directly with patients, strong interpersonal skills will go a long way in allowing you to help others.
Other traits and skills that could also help you in your future career include:
- Emotional Maturity
- Respect for diversity (age, gender, ethnicity)
- Ability to respect boundaries
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Above-average organizational skills
- Willingness to work long hours
You should also be in good physical and mental health. Manual dexterity and independent physical mobility are very important.
As a physiotherapist assistant, you will be qualified to work for a number of healthcare providers, including:
- Acute care centers of general hospitals
- Nursing homes or long term care facilities
- Community care
- Physiotherapy clinics
- Mental health agencies
- Rehabilitation and convalescent facilities
- Community and government health agencies
- Vocational rehabilitation programs
The duties of a physiotherapist assistant can vary from one position to another. For example, you may work in an outpatient clinic in which patients have orthopedic issues, or in a hospital setting with patients who have a wide variety of disorders.
As a physiotherapist assistant, your duties can include:
- Implementing a treatment plan designed by a physical therapist
- Perform lifts and transfers, helping patients correctly position themselves
- Prepare and apply hot and cold packs
- Assist patients with individual exercises or activities such as stretching
- Administer electrotherapy treatments such as ultrasound, interferential treatment or electrical muscle stimulation
- Measure patients for walking aides (like canes or walkers)
- Apply braces or artificial limbs
- Lead group exercise or activity classes
- Monitor patients during treatments and report patient performance
- Perform postural drainage, percussions and vibrations for treatment of respiratory conditions
- Adjust and monitor the operation of equipment
- Perform clerical tasks such as documenting activities, keeping track of statistics, maintaining an inventory of equipment, ordering supplies and equipment, answering telephones and scheduling appointment that may demand light medical office administrator training.