Physiotherapy Assistant

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Working with a Physiotherapy Assistant at The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic

Your Physiotherapist has determined that you will benefit from working with our Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA).  Working with a PTA is recommended at the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic when it is determined that you will benefit from more frequent treatment and/or more regular supervision.  This information is provided to help you to understand the parameters and scope of the treatment that can be provided by our assistant.

Who is the Physiotherapy Assistant?

At the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic our assistants are part of our Therapeutic Fitness team.   They have been trained to understand the treatments provided by our Registered Physiotherapists. They can help you with your exercises and treatment modalities i.e. ultrasound, taping, stretching etc. They are able to provide many of the aspects of the program prescribed by your physiotherapist .

How is my PTA visit billed?

Your appointments will be billed as physiotherapy.  This can be provided when there are defined therapeutic goals. Your program and progress must be overseen by your physiotherapist or another physiotherapist at the clinic.

Booking Appointments

At the OTC we require a physiotherapist to be onsite at the clinic during your appointment.  The reception staff will help ensure this requirement is met.  This allows for a physiotherapist to be consulted if some aspect of your condition or treatment requires immediate review.
Although a physiotherapist is allowed to provide supervision by phone, this is not the preferred mode at The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic.  On rare occasions your appointment may need to be rescheduled if a supervising physiotherapist is not available.  If you have a specific issue with rescheduling an appointment please inform our reception staff, as the need for and effectiveness of providing remote oversight can be reviewed by your supervising physiotherapist on an individual basis.

Responsibilities of your Physiotherapist

Your Physiotherapist remains the primary overseer for all physiotherapy sessions including those provided by the PTA.   The Physiotherapist’s responsibility is to:

  • assess your injury/issue at your initial and subsequent physiotherapy visits
  • create a treatment plan based on your particular needs and goals.
  • communicate the treatment plan to the PTA (verbally or through the chart)
  • ensure ongoing communication throughout your course of  treatment
  • provide parameters on frequency and length of appointments
  • determine when a review is necessary with your physiotherapist.   At the OTC we require a review with the physiotherapist at a minimum of 3 month intervals.

What to expect from your Physiotherapy Assistant

Under the supervision and direction of your Physiotherapist, the PTA will help you progress your treatment program within the parameters outlined by your therapists.  This may include:

  • Applying electrical modalities
  • Sports and injury taping
  • Monitoring clarifying and/or progressing your exercises
  • Applying stretching techniques

The PTA may make modifications and progressions to your program providing these changes fall within the parameters of the treatment plan.  Should you require care outside of your treatment plan, and/or if you or your PTA identify a separate need that extends beyond your treatment plan, you should book an appointment to see your Physiotherapist for an appropriate evaluation

Services outside of the scope of a Physiotherapy assistant:

  • Changing treatment beyond your physiotherapy treatment plan, including modalities & exercises
  • Assessing the cause of a changed symptom or new symptoms
  • Developing non-injury related fitness programs. This service does not qualify as physiotherapy; however, it can be provided by our Therapeutic Fitness team.
  • Joint mobilization techniques i.e. manipulation, mobilization

Who to see & when

Your initial visit with the PTA will be prescribed by your Physiotherapist.  When you are working with both health professionals, it is important to know who to see and when.  The following  is designed to help you to determine which professional to book with.

You should see your Registered Physiotherapist:

  • For the initial Assessment
  • If you are experiencing new symptoms or if your symptoms have worsened or changed substantially since your last visit
  • It has been more than 3 months since you have been evaluated by your Physiotherapist.

You may see your PTA:

  • For follow-up treatment, such as ultrasound or taping, or to review your exercises when recommended by your Physiotherapist.
  • For on-going treatment or progression of current treatment providing there is no change in symptoms and/or you are progressing as expected based on the physiotherapy assessment.
  • If it has been less than 3 months since your last appointment with your physiotherapist

When your physiotherapist recommends you work with the PTA your signature will be required on our PTA document to acknowledge that you have read and understood our policy. If you have any questions about working with a PTA, or other concerns please contact your physiotherapist or our clinic director Maureen Dwight at 416-925-4687, For further information see the College of Physiotherapist’s website for the standard on working with a PTA