Rehabilitation and physical health as an essential service

Rehabilitation and physical health as an essential service
  • 23 November 2020
  • News
With the Covid-19 pandemic, we were forced to realize that the field of rehabilitation and physical health was a forgotten part of the healthcare system and that the importance of its role could be poorly recognized. There are several examples: the reopening of private rehabilitation centers was allowed simultaneously as hairdressing salons. We also observed that rehabilitation professionals’ services were requested after those of the army to help the crisis in CHSLDs. Physiotherapists and physical therapists have also been relieved to screen for the virus when they would have been much more useful by maintaining rehabilitation services. Finally, the private sector’s rehabilitation professionals have been completely sidelined despite their multiple messages sent to support the system. Rehabilitation and physical health must be an essential service, even more in times of pandemics, for the simple reason that they play an undeniable role in the health of the pediatric, adult, or geriatric population, with or without a neurological disorder. However, one can sometimes wonder about the recognition of the urgency of the situation at the government level. It seems that the importance of rehabilitation and physical health is little recognized, reflecting a lack of political will to improve these essential services for the better health of Quebecers.

State of rehabilitation and physical health in the Quebec health system.

With the aging of the Quebec population, we see an increase in the need for rehabilitation and physical health and an increase in neurological disorders. Several observations made in the field are the consequences of a lack of consideration for this health sector and an underestimation of its importance. Intensive rehabilitation (3-5 hours per day) is non-existent in the public system. For someone newly diagnosed with a neurological problem, this approach is essential. Whether for a child or an adult, this intensive rehabilitation determines the person’s abilities in his daily life, in addition to playing a large role in his future autonomy and social participation. Physical health services for chronic, degenerative cases or the geriatric population are often delayed. However, these services are all the more critical given that, confined at home or in a CHSLD, people who already have a decrease in their autonomy can quickly lose capacities and muscle mass, which will directly affect their potential and quality of life. A reduction in cognitive abilities has been correlated with a decline in activity among the elderly clientele. However, a better level of functional independence for a more extended period reduces the economic burden of populations on society. With increased autonomy, people can act as participatory actors in our society and make it a truly inclusive one. Besides, there are the survivors of Covid-19 who come out of hospitalization and intensive care wholly deconditioned. Some are also struggling with significant neurological consequences that must be taken care of. Also, do not forget people waiting for surgery or specialized treatment, struggling with pain and mobility difficulties, or those who come out of completely deconditioned by treatments but do not know where to continue their rehabilitation because the hospital gave discharge due to limited resources by the Covid-19. In all of these cases, rehabilitation and physical health services could have a significant impact. Indeed, physiotherapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, kinesiologists, and others are experts in movement, mobility, autonomy, and physical conditioning. Therefore, they would have an important role to play through the pandemic to ensure that the population remains healthy despite the situation.

What about physical activity in general?

Physical activity is essential. Its benefits are manifold, regardless of age or condition. These include decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced stress levels, increased energy, better sleep, and better digestion. Therefore, we would gain by doing physical activity in the time of a pandemic, when we have seen a deterioration in physical and mental health since March 2020. We cannot say it enough: mental health and physical health are linked to one another. Kinesiologists are movement and physical activity specialists, and we should fully involve them during this period to get people moving and keep them healthy. Their preventive role in health is essential and could reduce the number of interventions. Prevention is another variable that we forget to include in the equation for allocating health budgets.

Although the gyms are closed due to confinement, the rehabilitation and physiotherapy centers are still open.

At Neuro-Concept, our multidisciplinary team continues to serve our customers with all the expertise you need while respecting patient safety. We wear the recommended personal protection and disinfect the equipment between each use to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to a minimum. We will be happy to assist you with your needs, whether it’s with the help of a physiotherapist, physical therapist, kinesiologist, or other professionals. Remember that getting active can reduce many ailments and prevent others.