Physiotherapists help patients affected by injury, illness or disability through exercise and manual therapy.
Patients undergoing knee operations must perform exercises to improve their mobility and strengthen their quad muscles. Many patients attend “knee classes” at hospitals to aid them with their exercise program. These hospital outpatient services are currently offered free of charge.
“Our knee patients have to keep going (exercising). Otherwise, we put in the joints for nothing,” said one Winnipeg hospital nurse who asked not to be identified.
Joint replacements are carried out at Concordia and Grace hospitals. Manitoba has had some of the longest waits for joint replacement in Canada.
The “knee classes” that are held after surgery are done in a group setting and are carried out in an efficient manner, Moroz said. As many as 10 or 12 patients are put through their paces at the same time by one physiotherapist and one rehab assistant.
The physiotherapy protocols are developed in conjunction with the surgeons and other health professionals, Moroz said. “So the surgeons know exactly what they’re going to get with inhouse physiotherapy.”
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The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has said it plans to end its adult outpatient hospital physiotherapy and occupational therapy services by mid-October as part of its mandate from the Progressive Conservative government to find $83 million in savings this budget year.
The hospital nurse the Free Press spoke with Thursday expressed concern patients may not be willing or able to pay to receive post-op physiotherapy at a private clinic. Many lack secondary health insurance, she said.
“I find that there are a great number of patients who can’t afford things that they need for knee-replacement surgery at the best of times,” she said, including an anticoagulant used to prevent blood clots.
“Patients receiving hip and knee surgery are first seen in a preoperative clinic where they are assessed by a variety of health professionals including physiotherapists,” Bronwyn Penner Holigroski said in an email. “During a patients’ stay in hospital, after surgery, their care is provided by a team that includes a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will provide specific exercises and demonstrations (for) patients before they are discharged.”