Physiotherapists in frontline in management of COVID 19 patients


PHYSIOTHERAPISTS IN THE FRONTLINE IN MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 Physiotherapists are being trained in critical care to assist coronavirus patients with respiratory treatment and physical rehabilitation. The training is seen as an “absolute necessity” so that the number of physiotherapists working in intensive therapy units is directly proportional to the number of new ITU and medical wards, said Anabel Sciriha, consultant cardio-respiratory physiotherapist at the Malta Association of Physiotherapists. “The training sessions also focus on how to use vital protective gear to minimise the risk of contracting the virus while assisting patients during chest physiotherapy.” Since the coronavirus pandemic escalated in Malta, the health authorities have been preparing for a rise in cases by increasing the number of hospital beds – including ITU beds – dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients. Several departments at the hospital worked hand-in-hand so that physiotherapists in all units can assist patients in need of assisted ventilation. Intensive training was conducted by the critical care team. Like other frontline healthcare workers, these physiotherapists have had to move out of their family homes to protect loved ones from the virus. Sciriha explained that although a productive cough is a less common symptom of the virus, physiotherapy may be indicated if patients present with copious airway secretions they are unable to clear independently. Physiotherapy can help with clearing phlegm, re-expanding collapsed areas of the lungs and weaning patients from ventilator support, whilst rehabilitating them towards normal function. Source: Malta PT Association