Physiotherapy / Physical therapy is services provided by physiotherapists to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. The service is provided in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by ageing, injury, pain, diseases, disorders, conditions or environmental factors and with the understanding that functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy.
Physiotherapy involves the interaction between the physical therapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers and communities in a process where movement potential is examined/assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists. Physiotherapists are concerned with identifying and maximising quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. These spheres encompass physical, psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing.
Physiotherapists are qualified and professionally required to:
The physiotherapist’s extensive knowledge of the body and its movement needs and potential is central to determining strategies for diagnosis and intervention. The practice settings will vary according to whether the physical therapy is concerned with health promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation or rehabilitation.
The scope of physiotherapist practice is not limited to direct patient/client care, but also includes:
Physiotherapists operate as independent practitioners, as well as members of health service provider teams, and are subject to the ethical principles. They are able to act as first contact practitioners, and patients/clients may seek direct services without referral from another health professional.
The education and clinical practice of physical therapists will vary according to the social, economic, cultural and political contexts in which they practice. However, it is a single profession, and the first professional qualification, obtained in any country, represents the completion of a curriculum that qualifies the physical therapist to use the professional title and to practise as an independent professional.
Physiotherapy is an essential part of the health and community/welfare services delivery systems. Physiotherapy is delivered in a variety of settings, which allow it to achieve its purpose. Prevention, health promotion, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation take place in multiple settings that may include, but are not confined to, the following:
Physiotherapy is the service provided only by, or under the direction and supervision of, a physiotherapist. It includes examination/assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis/plan, intervention/treatment and re-examination.
The examination of individuals or groups with actual or potential impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions or abilities/disabilities by history-taking, screening and the use of specific tests and measures
The evaluation of the results of the examination and/or the environment through analysis and synthesis within a process of clinical reasoning to determine the facilitators and barriers to optimal human functioning.
Diagnosis and prognosis arise from the examination and evaluation and represent the outcome of the process of clinical reasoning and the incorporation of additional information from other professionals as needed. This may be expressed in terms of movement dysfunction or may encompass categories of impairments, activity limitations, participatory restrictions, environmental influences or abilities/disabilities.
Prognosis begins with determining the need for intervention/treatment and normally leads to the development of a plan, including measurable outcome goals negotiated in collaboration with the patient/client, family or caregiver. Alternatively, it may lead to referral to another agency or health professional in cases that are inappropriate for physical therapy.
Intervention/treatment is implemented and modified in order to reach agreed goals and may include:
(Reference : the world confederation for physical therapy)