What is it?
Physiotherapy is a health care profession concerned with human function and movement and maximising potential. “It uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, taking account of variations in health status
It is science-based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery the exercise of clinical judgement and informed interpretation is at its core.”
The above definition is taken from the CSP curriculum framework.
Chartered Physiotherapists are health professionals allied to the medical profession and carry a University qualification. Chartered Physiotherapists work in hospitals and in the community where treatment is covered under the public health service. In hospital Physiotherapists work as part of a multidisciplinary team including: Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Nurses, Chiropodists, Psychologists etc. They also work in private practice and can be contacted through the professional body or through the yellow pages (ISCP, 1998).
Stroke & Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy aims to restore a person to their optimal functional potential within the limits of his/her abilities and needs. Physiotherapists have a great deal to offer people who have had a stroke. Physiotherapists will provide an assessment of your movement and ability to balance.
Early treatment may include:
- correct positioning in bed
- ensuring muscles and joints remain relaxed and pain free
- guided movements of the limbs
- practicing sitting and standing
Assessment and treatment planning is vital. The Physiotherapist will set realistic goals with you as success depends on your efforts as well as those of the Physiotherapist and your family. The Physiotherapist will review and reset your goal if this is necessary.
Achieving and maintaining good positions is important (in lying and sitting) to support the weak side and to reduce as far as possible the changes in muscle caused by inactivity and altered muscle tone. The Physiotherapist can show you the correct positions to use to support the weak limbs and trunk (Irish Heart Foundation).
A Physiotherapist will advise staff, carers and family members on how to help co-ordinate a consistent approach to encourage use of the affected side of the body and discourage unwanted movements. A Physiotherapist can also advise the patient and carer how to include movement learnt in therapy into their everyday activities (ISCP). On leaving hospital treatment may be continued as an outpatient attending hospital, in the community or through a private practitioner (ISCP).
Some people who have has a mild stroke may not need to go into hospital but can be looked after at home. They may benefit from a domiciliary visit. Advice may be given on appropriate mobility aids and appliances, on appropriate handling and to monitor and review a home exercise programme (ISCP).