Can Physiotherapy help in COVID-19?

Physiotherapists (Physical Therapists) and other clinicians often have direct contact with patients, which makes them susceptible to the transmission of infectious diseases. Physiotherapists are also often first contact practitioners, which means that they are in a position to take responsibility for the early identification of infectious disease and/or managing workload in primary care settings.

Key considerations:
  • Stay current - Ensure that you are well-read on current COVID-19 guidance. The WHO and the CDC have good evolving resources, also check with your local authority.
  • Stay calm - Have an objective view of the crisis we are facing. People, for example, staff and patients, may look to you as a leader to provide information to help them make decisions and also provide reassurance that we can take care of them at this time of need.
  • Minimize exposure in your setting - review infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines, practice social distancing, implement triage strategies, reschedule non-urgent care, consider digital service delivery, consider closures.
  • Get involved in workforce planning - where appropriate offer services to reduce the load on emergency departments and frontline practitioners.
  • Get educated - all staff should be trained in COVID-19 related strategies and procedures, including rehearsals of potential scenarios, such as a COVID-19 case being identified on the clinic premises.

There are two main considerations in primary care:

  1. Avoid transmission
  2. Provide education

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. A global coordinated effort is needed to stop the further spread of the virus. A pandemic is defined as “occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.” The last pandemic reported in the world was the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009.

On 31 December 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in China, was reported to the World Health Organisation. In January 2020, a previously unknown new virus was identified, subsequently named the 2019 novel coronavirus, and samples obtained from cases and analysis of the virus’ genetics indicated that this was the cause of the outbreak. This novel coronavirus was named Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by WHO in February 2020. The virus is referred to as SARS-CoV-2 and the associated disease is COVID-19.
physiotherapy is one the field which can help the patient after the recovery of the patient. Cardio-Respiratory Physiotherapy is one of the emerging branches. so many studies on the patient who recovered after being infected by COVID-19 is showing low lung capacities and reduced Respiratory function.

Physiotherapy is helpful to restore respiratory function. Respiratory physiotherapy is the term used to describe the job of a specialist Physiotherapist who helps treat, educate and advise patients who have problems with their lungs and their breathing.

There are several reasons why you might have been referred to see a physiotherapist with respiratory problems. Physiotherapy typically starts with a comprehensive evaluation of the patient's respiratory function, breathing pattern, breathing muscle function, and exercise ability. Especially important is the assessment of skeletal muscle function, as this forms a major barrier to normal functioning in many patients with respiratory problems. An evidence-based therapy plan is developed based on that information.

Physiotherapists often use mechanical devices such as intermittent positive pressure and CPAP equipment; tools used since the mid-20th century in the profession. With the resurgence of interest in non-invasive ventilation techniques and greater sophistication, physiotherapists have a larger armory to turn to. A lot of people with life-threatening respiratory failure can be managed successfully in this way, avoiding intubation. Similarly, carefully selected devices can help in clearing the mucus.

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs have long used exercise equipment; however, physiotherapists may also use supplementary oxygen, non-invasive mechanical ventilation, complex training modalities, or electrical neuromuscular stimulation to enhance the effectiveness of exercise training in respiratory patients. In particular, one specialized technique is specific inspiratory muscle training using resistive breathing, which is used in patients with inspiratory muscle weakness to alleviate breathlessness.

Physiotherapists are important clinical team members in intensive care units, respiratory wards, outpatient clinics, and palliative care services. The role of physiotherapists is widening as health services place a greater emphasis on chronic disease management and the maintenance of patient independence and function: where appropriate, patients are increasingly managed in the primary care setting, with the advent of domiciliary and hospital-at-home services.

Physiotherapy enhances airway clearance in respiratory diseases associated with hypersecretion. Forced expiratory techniques are the most important treatment modalities to improve short-term airway clearance. Respiratory muscle training enhances strength, endurance, and symptoms in various conditions associated with respiratory muscle weakness. Exercise training and peripheral muscle training are effective components in the rehabilitation of patients with respiratory disease.
Educational aims:
  • To motivate the interest of chest physicians in physiotherapy.
  • To provide a conceptual framework of physiotherapy in a variety of respiratory conditions.
  • To provide details about the efficacy of physiotherapy in respiratory conditions.
Still, there are no Absolute details available for the patient and therapist as well. information given here is just a basic outline that how Respiratory physical therapy works in normal setup.and in future how it will help.
Please note: this is a rapidly developing topic and while we will try to keep this page up to date please let us know if you are aware of any new information or evidence that should be incorporated into this page.

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