As COVID-19 hospitalises thousands of people around the world, physiotherapy has become a crucial part of helping patients recover.
But the physios in intensive care wards are at higher risk than other frontline workers.
Why? Because the exercises they put patients through often trigger coughing fits.
In response, a global collaboration lead by Australian physiotherapy experts has developed best-practice guidelines for intensive care unit (ICU) physiotherapists around the world.
Dr Bernie Bissett, from University of Canberra’s Faculty of Health, said ICU physio teams were grappling with the influx of COVID-19 patients needing physiotherapy treatment.
“We’ve seen too many doctors, nurses and allied health staff around the world die from COVID-19 already and we hope that this is taken very seriously,” she said.
The guidelines provide advice on treatments that are safe and risky for COVID-19 patients. They stress the need for proper personal protective equipment (PPE), dedicated equipment to stop cross contamination and exempting immunocompromised physiotherapists from COVID-19 care.
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