Recommendations for physiotherapy of adults with COVID19

In the face of the spread of coronavirus infections and the introduction of epidemic status in Poland, experts of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists developed physiotherapy recommendations for infected patients. The presented study was covered by the substantive patronage of the scientific society of the Polish Physiotherapy Association (Fizjoterapia Polska).

The experts working on the following recommendations were guided by 2 objectives:

  • first of all – presenting recommendations for physiotherapy in COVID19 patients,
  • secondly, preparing and implementing our professional group to fight the pandemic.

Experts of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists have developed recommendations based on clinical expertise, available recommendations for respiratory physiotherapy, available literature (also international), as well as the experience of the Chinese Medical Association (CMA) and WHO recommendations.

The document also raises issues such as occupational safety and recommended techniques for patients with various disease history. The document is particularly dedicated to physiotherapists but is also intended and targeted at all medical professionals who come in contact with patients. That is why it was also sent to the attention of other medical self-governments (Supreme Medical Chamber, Supreme Chamber of Nurses and Midwives) and national consultants for anesthesiology and intensive care, lung diseases, internal diseases, infectious diseases, intensive care and family medicine. The letter of the President of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists regarding this matter is presented below.

Crisis Team
The Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists

President National Council of Physiotherapists
dr hab. n. med. Maciej Krawczyk

Warsaw, March 21, 2020

Mr. prof. dr hab. Łukasz Szumowski Minister of Health
ul. Miodowa 15; 00-952 Warsaw.

Dear Mr Minister,

Hereby I am presenting the recommendations from the National Chamber of Physiotherapists, developed under the auspices of the scientific society of the Polish Physiotherapy Association.

The purpose of this study is to present indications for physiotherapeutic management in patients with COVID-19 and to implement a professional group of physiotherapists to fight a pandemic in our country.

The study is based on the existing international indications for respiratory physiotherapy in patients with acute and chronic respiratory failure, as well as implications for the management of an infected patient. The study has been developed upon clinical expertise and a review of available literature, above all experiences published by the Chinese Medical Association (CMA).

Respiratory physiotherapy is an important part of a multidisciplinary approach to a patient with respiratory dysfunctions and plays a significant role in the treatment, improvement and care. Through a wide range of activities, physiotherapists support patients of all ages and with various diseases, from patients in critical, acute or chronic condition, those in hospitals, outpatient clinics, home care or rehabilitation centres. In the case of COVID-19, the most at risk to develop a severe form of a disease and death are elderly people with reduced immunity accompanied by other diseases, in particular, chronic (cardiological, pulmonary, oncological, etc.).

The role of physiotherapists in the process is indispensable, it can significantly accelerate the duration of treatment, reduce the load on the ICU departments by decreasing the time of ventilation, which also results in relieving the most important medical personnel (doctors and nurses and paramedics). In subsequent stages of treatment, physiotherapy clearly lessens the number of pulmonology complications in the follow-up outcome.

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The recommendations were developed by a group of experts from the National Chamber of Physiotherapists under the auspices of the scientific society of the Association of Physiotherapy Poland. The document is intended and directed to all medical professionals especially physiotherapists.

Letter from the President of the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists to the Minister of Health