Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Francis: Physiotherapists are burnt out

Published:Friday | September 17, 2021 | 12:05 AM
A physiotherapist assists a patient with breathing exercises.
A physiotherapist assists a patient with breathing exercises.

IN AN effort to assist patients who are in need of rehabilitation after contracting COVID-19, the Jamaica Physiotherapy Association (JPA) has urged the Government to hire more physiotherapists for the public sector.

“Our physiotherapists working on the isolation wards in hospitals have been diligently managing the patients but are burnt out due to the high volume of patients over the past year, and especially during this surge, when compared to the low number of therapists employed within the Government service. The JPA urges the MOHW (Ministry of Health and Wellness) to increase the number of physiotherapists in our government service, as well as place physiotherapists in hospitals that do not have access to this vital service,” said Savionne Francis, president of the JPA.

According to Francis, physiotherapists have played a vital role as frontline workers in managing COVID-19 patients over the past year and a half.

“We have consistently provided optimal care to the Jamaican people along with our fellow healthcare workers. We continue to diligently give our services particularly in the area of respiratory care (chest physiotherapy) as well as management of Long COVID. Many COVID patients encounter physiotherapy when they are referred to help to decrease work of breathing, improve chest expansion, to learn lung clearance techniques and maintain their mobility. Patients with Long COVID benefit from our services as we rehabilitate them through the debilitating effects of the condition such as extreme exhaustion, dizziness, muscle and joint pain and shortness of breath.”

Francis said her association acknowledges the Government’s attempts to expand physiotherapy services across the island, noting that a few new departments have been created over the last 10 years.

“Despite these efforts, many persons at many institutions are still not receiving physiotherapy as a part of their COVID management, due to not enough therapists being employed in the hospital or none at the institution. Physiotherapists also play a major role outside of the acute setting and, therefore, it is imperative that more are placed within the health centres and community-based programmes to optimise our patients’ return to function and quality of life.”

She added: “The JPA encourages all physiotherapists to remain committed to the fight against COVID-19 and we salute you for the exceptional service that you have rendered to our fellow countrymen during this extraordinary time.”