A World Physiotherapy report shows physiotherapy services have been severely disrupted globally by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physiotherapy services globally, marks the first anniversary of WHO officially declaring a global pandemic due to COVID-19 (11 March 2020), and focuses on the first wave of the pandemic.
Key findings in the report include:
- 70% said all physiotherapy services had been disrupted
- 87% said private practice were impacted
- 81% said public health services were impacted
- 77% said nursing homes were impacted
- 72% said community services were impacted
- 65% said physiotherapists in their country/territory reported challenges in accessing PPE
- member organisations’ advocacy campaigns focused on:
- access to PPE
- recognition of physiotherapists as frontline health professionals
- provision of telehealth services
- role of physiotherapists in working with people affected by Long Covid.
Emma Stokes, World Physiotherapy president, said: “In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all our lives – on a personal and professional level. This report shines a light on how COVID-19 has impacted our global profession, and how we have collectively responded.
“Physiotherapists have been tireless in their response to the pandemic. Sadly, this has meant we have lost some members of our global community. We recognise the contribution they have each made and we send our sincerest sympathies to their families, friends, and colleagues.
“Many people, including physiotherapists, are living with Long Covid. A number of our colleagues affected by Long Covid have set up a global peer support and advocacy group offering peer support, to provide a safe space to share their experiences of living with Long Covid, the challenges of pacing themselves, navigating their health care journey and their return to work.”
World Physiotherapy publishes data from its member organisations every year on a range of issues, including professional regulation, practice, education, and the number of employed physiotherapists. This data provides a comprehensive and valuable global profile of the profession.
In 2020, the annual membership census also included questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted physiotherapy practice and the governance of World Physiotherapy’s member organisations. Of World Physiotherapy’s 125 member organisations, 110 responded to the census.
The annual membership census date was 30 June 2020.