The Role of a Physiotherapist

The primary role of a physiotherapist is to identify and maximise a patient or client’s movement potential through a range of techniques; these techniques include:

· health promotion;

· preventive healthcare;

· treatment;

· rehabilitation.

A physiotherapist is required to assist a patient in many ways. Those who suffer from health-related conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities, are the primary focus of the physiotherapist. In recent times, a more “joined-up” model of care has been mooted which addresses all of a patient’s needs as opposed to just the health condition that he or she may be referred for.

Roles of the Physiotherapist

Treatment & Rehabilitation

The physiotherapist will play a ranging role in the patient’s rehabilitation. Whether suffering from a neurological disorder, disease or a musculoskeletal injury, a physiotherapist is likely to be called upon in order to assist in the rehabilitation process.

The primary focus is to restore the patient’s movement potential through a range of rehabilitative techniques, such as:

· joint manipulation;

· massage therapy;

· body work;

· muscle manipulation;

· joint mobilisation.

As previously stated, a physiotherapist doesn’t just concentrate on physical treatments and rehabilitation; there is also a requirement to assist in the treatment of psychological issues.

A physio may be required to help a patient with mental pain, stress relief and mental preparation for physical activity.

Health Promotion & Preventive Healthcare

Preventative healthcare and health promotion are important parts of a physio’s job. These areas involve promoting good health habits, as well as planning and implementing a healthy lifestyle. Preventative healthcare will consist of several facets that when bought together can make a sizeable contribution to a patient’s well-being, including:

· daily exercise plans;

· weight control techniques;

· detailed nutrition guides;

· muscle building techniques.

Physiotherapists can also be involved in a patient’s screening process where a range of tests will be carried out to assess current movement ability.

Areas of Healthcare & Job prospects

Physiotherapists work across a range of areas and are required to have an understanding of psychological, cultural and social factors that may affect a patient.

Areas in which a physio may work include:

· Outpatient care

· Paediatrics

· Occupational health

· Mental illness

· Orthopaedics.

The majority of physiotherapist’s work is done in hospitals where their services are required in almost every department. Most modern hospitals will have a wide range of facilities that a physio will utilise for patients, such as: physiotherapy gyms, hydrotherapy equipment and cryotherapy equipment.

Job Prospects

In recent times physiotherapists are equally as likely to undertake work in the private sector. A growing number of physiotherapy jobs are available in areas where people are at risk of injury as a result of their occupation (for example in sports teams).

Potential physiotherapy jobs may include:

· Community work

· Sports teams

· Education

· Special Schools

· Private healthcare institutions.

A good physiotherapist will have a wealth of experience, and once clinical experience has been gained, there is huge opportunity to specialise in a number of areas, including orthopaedics, paediatrics or sports physiotherapy.

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