New scholarship program of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists – ‘Physiotherapy without borders – on the way to innovation’

The ‘Physiotherapy without borders – on the way to innovation’ program is the latest project of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists, which was launched in 2024. The idea is to financially support the travels of physiotherapists to foreign centres in EU and EFTA member states to present innovative therapeutic, diagnostic and research approaches and promote physiotherapy internationally.

A physiotherapist applying for funding must meet formal criteria, including having a Polish right to practice, having paid membership fees, must not having any negative entries in the professional register. In addition, knowledge of a foreign language and professional and scientific activity is assessed, such as participation in conferences, publications in peer-reviewed journals and experience in conducting scientific research. The project that the candidate intends to implement abroad should be innovative and with clearly defined goals.

A person interested in travelling under the program is obliged to apply with appropriate attachments (including a letter from the host centre) to the Chamber’s office. The application is verified and assessed, and then a decision is made to qualify or refuse to qualify the physiotherapist for the program. The length of the participant’s stay at the foreign centre for which funding is granted is from two to five consecutive days, and during the stay, the physiotherapist is obliged to conduct at least 8 hours of didactic, clinical or training classes.

All criteria for participation in the program and detailed financing rules are specified in the regulations of the ‘Physiotherapy without borders – on the way to innovation’ program, which is an annexe to the resolution of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists 490/II KRF: https://kif.info.pl/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/uchw.490.II_.KRF_.pdf.

KIF representatives at the international conference in Bratislava

In Bratislava, September 22-23 this year. “International industry conference – Physiotherapists Days” took place. At the invitation of the Slovak Chamber of Physiotherapists, KIF representatives also took part in the conference.

Vice-President of the KRF, Dr. Dominika Batycka-Stachnik, was invited to a discussion panel on physiotherapy in internal diseases and in her speech she discussed prehabilitation as an optimal model of preparing a patient for a thoracic surgery. The vice president talked about what exactly prehabilitation is, why, when and how it should be introduced, what challenges cardiac surgery involves and what the exact model of prehabilitation procedure is.
Weronika Krzepkowska, senior specialist for international cooperation at KIF, participated in the panel on the legislation and regulations of professional physiotherapists in the Czech Republic, Poland and other European countries. She presented the benefits of regulating the profession of physiotherapist in Poland, the most important information about our professional group and the goals that the local government wants to achieve in Poland in the coming years. The panel also discussed the differences and similarities in professional regulations in EU countries and where physiotherapists have the greatest autonomy.

The conference was also an opportunity to establish closer cooperation and exchange experiences with representatives of chambers and associations of physiotherapists from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Slovak Chamber of Physiotherapists was represented by president Diana Dudášová, and the Czech Association of Physiotherapists (UNIFY) by president Vladan Toufar. Among these countries, in Poland, physiotherapists have the greatest independence in performing their profession, which was met with great recognition, as well as questions about possible areas of cooperation for the benefit of our professional groups.

Full conference program: https://komorafyzioterapeutov.sk/aktuality/den-fyzioterapeutov-2023-bratislava/

EurHeCa meeting in Krakow

On September 15, the next general meeting of the EurHeCa organization (European Health professionnals Competent authorities) was held. This time, on the initiative of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists, the meeting took place in Krakow.

The meeting in Krakow was attended by representatives of regulated medical professions associated with EurHeCa, including: Pascale Mathieu – president of the French Chamber of Physiotherapists and president of EurHeCa, Maria da Conceição Bettencourt – vice-president of the Portuguese Chamber of Physiotherapists, Rien Marinus – director of the Belgian Chamber of Pharmacists and secretary of EurHeCa, Anne -Cécile Squifflet – lawyer of the Belgian Chamber of Pharmacists and member of the board of EurHeCa, Clément Soulié – director of EURALIA, Joseph Busuttil – secretary of the Malta Chamber of Pharmacists, Serge Cailler – member of the French Council of Pharmacists, Anne-Marie Curat and David Meyer – members of the board of the French Chamber of Midwives and Charlotte Melchior and Sophie di Giorgio from the French Chamber of Physiotherapists. KIF was represented by Tomasz Dybek – president of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists and Weronika Krzepkowska, International Cooperation Department. Some people also joined the online meeting.

During the meeting, the main events at the EU level that are of interest to EurHeCa were presented, such as: new legislative initiatives of the European Commission related to pharmaceutical law and access to medicines in times of crisis, cross-border regulations in the field of collecting, processing and sharing medical data or current recommendations of the European Parliament in the field of public health.

Moreover, the meeting was also a good opportunity for representatives of chambers of physiotherapists in Europe to talk and to raise the issue of a common educational framework. This topic will be widely discussed soon, and an online meeting has been planned to discuss the substantive details.

EurHeCa already brings together 15 organizations representing regulated medical professions and its aim is, in particular, to coordinate all work related to the practice of health care workers at the level of the European Commission. KIF has been a member of EurHeCa since 2020.

Studying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers in the rehabilitation sector

Share your experiences of working during the COVID-19 pandemic with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe is conducting an anonymous 15-minute online survey in 5 countries (Armenia, Georgia, Poland, Great Britain and Italy) on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers in the rehabilitation sector and the provision of rehabilitation services.
The purpose of the study is to document and draw conclusions from your experiences. The idea is to recognize the unique contribution of rehabilitation workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide valuable information to help respond to crises. The survey results will be made publicly available. Participation in the survey is anonymous.

Share your experience: https://extranet.who.int/dataformv3/index.php/898845?lang=pl
Please share this link with your colleagues so that we can collect as many responses as possible!

On September 8, we celebrate World Physiotherapy Day

In 1996, on the initiative of World Physiotherapy (formerly World Confederation for Physical Therapy), September 8 was established as a holiday for the entire global physiotherapy community. This special holiday has been celebrated for 27 years now!

In 2023, the leading theme of World Physiotherapy Day is the role of physiotherapy and physiotherapists in the treatment of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthropathy and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Physiotherapists help patients affected by various forms of arthritis function in everyday life, cope with pain, but also plan appropriate forms of activity and exercises and support patients in maintaining fitness.

Polish scientist and physiotherapist recognized internationally

We are proud to announce that Dr. Sebastian Rutkowski, a physiotherapist from Opole, received a prestigious distinction at a congress in Canada. Dr. Rutkowski’s scientific activity focuses on the use of virtual reality in rehabilitation. He is the author of 25 publications in this area (including systematic reviews, meta-analyses and articles with original research), he was the head of 7 grants, and he also developed his scientific career during two postdoctoral internships in Italy. His work was appreciated at an international forum, during the International Society for Virutal Rehabilitation (ISVR) congress, which took place on July 23-25, 2023 in Montreal (event website: https://isvr.org/wcisvr-2023/ ).

At the congress, scientists distinguished in the development of this therapeutic approach were awarded. Professor Mindy Levin received an award for her entire activity over 25 years of research, and Dr. Naomi Gefen and Dr. Rutkowski received the ISVR Early Career Investigator Award. This prestigious distinction is awarded to emerging scientists who have achieved outstanding results in the field of virtual reality-supported rehabilitation. The winner was invited to receive the award in person and give a lecture during the event. Link to competition results: https://isvr.org/awards/

The Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists supported the winner’s participation in the ISVR congress, in accordance with the decision of the Thematic Team for Science, which recommended granting funding for this purpose.

We sincerely congratulate the winner on receiving such an important and prestigious distinction, and wish him further success in his professional and scientific work, both domestically and internationally!

Physiotherapy students from the USA visited the KIF office

July 28 this year our office hosted a group of physiotherapy students from the Department of Exercise Science of Lebanon Valley College (Annville, Pennsylvania), one of the leading universities educating physiotherapists in the United States. The visit to the KIF Office was the culmination of an almost three-week stay (industry-cultural-cognitive visit) of students in Poland under the leadership and care of Professor Andrzej Miłosz – physiotherapist, practitioner and lecturer at the above-mentioned. university.
The students visited rehabilitation facilities in various Polish cities, took part in meetings at universities educating physiotherapists, and also had time to visit and learn about Polish culture. A few days earlier, on July 25 this year. the group had the opportunity to learn about the unique method of subterranotherapy in the world and in Poland, which is used during underground stays at the Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort. Guests had the opportunity to observe the work of a team of physiotherapists in underground conditions and spend the night 135 meters underground.

The students were particularly interested in the patient’s profile and proposed therapies, as well as the scope of competences of physiotherapists working in the rehabilitation day ward. Many questions were asked about the method and principles of providing rehabilitation services in Poland and the place of a physiotherapist in this system.

Students were positively surprised by the multitude of available forms of rehabilitation within the public health care system. Similarities and differences in this area in other countries were discussed and it was concluded that the model closest to the ideals is in which a physiotherapist, due to his extensive knowledge and competences, should be the first link to which the patient reports and at the same time a “bridge” between the doctor and which is directed when necessary. The meeting in Wieliczka took place with the participation and assistance of physiotherapists Iga Dziedzic and Aleksandra Krzywonos, a physiotherapy specialist working every day at the Wieliczka Spa, representing the KIF international cooperation team.

During the meeting at the KIF Office, Weronika Krzepkowska, responsible for international cooperation, told students about what professional self-government is, how it functions and what it does (including the FIZJO-LEARNING project), as well as about physiotherapists and physiotherapy in Poland. Ph.D. Magdalena Hagner-Derengowska, prof. The Nicolaus Copernicus University presented the process of educating physiotherapists in Poland, presenting the entire educational path from the conditions necessary to undertake studies, through the course of studies, to obtaining the right to practice the profession. Wojciech Komosa, Head of the Communication and Marketing Department, also provided information about promotional activities addressed to the public, which are implemented by KIF. Students asked many questions about the role of physiotherapists in prevention and their places of work. The possibility of publication in the scientific journal KIF Physiotherapy Review was also met with great interest. At the end of the meeting, the differences and similarities between the education of physiotherapists in the USA and Poland, cooperation with other medical professions, direct access to a physiotherapist, as well as opportunities to expand competences in our professional group were discussed.

KIF announces a competition for the best master’s thesis in physiotherapy!

The Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists and the editors of the “Physiotherapy Review” magazine invite this year’s graduates to take part in the next edition of the competition for the best master’s thesis in the field of physiotherapy. We want to support graduates and encourage their scientific development.

The works will be assessed by the Competition Committee. Financial prizes are provided for the winners, and the manuscripts prepared by the winners will be published in the scientific journal of the National Chamber of Physiotherapists “Physiotherapy Review”, which is on the list of scoring journals (140 ministerial points). The periodical also boasts a high ICV (Index Copernicus Value) index – 95.05 points.
Journal website: https://physiotherapy.review/

The competition is addressed to Polish physiotherapy graduates who defended their master’s thesis in the academic year 2022/2023.

KIF is the main evaluation partner of the report “Employees of the rehabilitation sector in Poland”

Rehabilitation workers are professionals who ensure the best possible level of functioning of patients. They play an extremely important role in the health care system, influencing the quality and efficiency of care. However, for this to be at the highest possible level, the health care system must employ employees who, both in terms of number and competences, will be able to meet the needs of the population. Their situation is comprehensively presented in the publication “Employees of the rehabilitation sector – assessment report”.

The report contains answers to many questions, e.g.:
· who deals with rehabilitation in Poland and do we have enough employees in this sector?
· do physiotherapists, medical rehabilitation specialists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, clinical psychologists, prosthetists and orthotists have appropriate competences?
· where do they work and are they available?
· are they well educated and can provide help to all those in need?
· what areas require immediate change and which are working well?
· what does the future of the broadly understood rehabilitation sector look like, and how will it develop in the coming years?

Download the report in Polish: Rehabilitation sector workers in Poland: assessment report, 2022–2023 (who.int)

Download the report in English: The rehabilitation workforce in Poland: evaluation report, 2022–2023 (who.int)

What kind of project is this?
In cooperation with WHO, Poland has been carrying out a comprehensive evaluation of rehabilitation staff since August 2021 in order to develop a national action plan. The National Chamber of Physiotherapists was the main partner in the project evaluation, and a group of experienced physiotherapists actively participated in the work of the project team.

The evaluation was carried out in accordance with the WHO GROWE (Guide for Rehabilitation Workforce Evaluation) methodology and was a pilot project, supported and financed by the WHO Department of Rehabilitation. Six identified professional groups – medical rehabilitation specialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, clinical psychologists and orthotists and prosthetists of the musculoskeletal system – were subjected to a thorough analysis. In addition to the National Chamber of Physiotherapists, key institutions were invited to participate in the project, including representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Sejm and Senate Health Committee, the National Health Fund, the Social Insurance Institution, the Patient Ombudsman, the National Institute of Public Health PZH- National Research Institute, the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, representatives of the academic community, as well as national consultants in the field of rehabilitation and physiotherapy who were involved in identifying data and participated in the process of drawing conclusions and formulating recommendations. The so-called task force consisting of representatives of the analyzed professional groups.

How was the report created?
The published report is the result of data collected and analyzed for almost two years and presents the situation of rehabilitation staff in Poland, the socio-economic context and detailed results, conclusions and recommendations, with particular emphasis on physiotherapists, medical rehabilitation specialists, prosthetists and orthotists, clinical psychologists, speech therapists and occupational therapists. The information collected about these professional groups is intended to be used to develop guidelines and practices to strengthen, equip and support rehabilitation workers to better meet the needs of society.

The evaluation was carried out jointly by the Ministry of Health, the Republic of Poland and WHO. The assessment was carried out by Weronika Krzepkowska, the person responsible for the GROWE project, under the supervision of Dr. Paloma Cuchi from the WHO office in Poland and Satish Mishra from the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The report was prepared by Jody-Anne Mills, from WHO headquarters.

PhysioHero – improves fitness, saves lives!

Melanoma is one of the most aggressive skin cancers – in our country alone, we record 3,500-4,000 new cases every year. If melanoma is diagnosed early, there is almost a 100% chance of cure. chances of completely curing melanoma. This makes the role of physiotherapists in the early diagnosis of melanoma crucial.

We are the third largest medical profession in Poland and every day we participate in the process of treating and restoring the fitness of patients in all fields of medicine. What distinguishes us is constant and close contact with the patient and work with his exposed body. Combined with comprehensive medical knowledge and attentiveness, this allows for an easy and quick way to assess the patient’s skin condition and changes within it, especially those that are difficult to notice, e.g. on the back.

We know that many of us, when we see moles or changes on a patient’s skin, make a preliminary assessment of them, often suggesting a check-up with a doctor. When drawing the patient’s attention to the birthmark, the physiotherapist should encourage him to immediately consult an appropriate specialist. Of course, the diagnosis can only be made by a dermatologist or an oncologist after a dermatoscopic examination and a confirmatory biopsy, but the attentiveness of the physiotherapist may determine the speed of the patient’s reaction and, consequently, saving someone’s life. You too can become a PhysioHero!

The Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists, in cooperation with the Melanoma Academy, joined the “All of Poland checks moles” campaign. The aim of this campaign is to raise public awareness of skin protection and mole examination. Together, we have prepared a film that talks about the role of physiotherapists in the early diagnosis of melanoma, and also educates the public on prevention and skin protection principles. This is important because the holiday season is about to begin, when our skin is much more exposed to sunlight, and this is one of the factors that significantly increases the incidence of melanoma.