A physiotherapy assistant is a healthcare worker that works under the supervision of a professional physiotherapist, often aiding in patient treatments and carrying out certain tasks in order to help the patient in completing exercises and activities associated with the rehabilitation of treatment.
They are very helpful to the physiotherapist as they can be performing other tasks, giving the therapist the time to work on other patients.
They are sometimes known under different names in documentation and in various establishments. Some of the most commonly used include;
- Physiotherapist aide
- Physical therapist aide
- Physical therapist assistant
- Physiotherapist attendant
- Physical Restorative care assistant
- Rehabilitation aide
The Job description
Since the physiotherapy assistant generally works under the supervision of a registered physiotherapist, they generally receive their duties as assigned and directed by the therapist. Their job functions are diverse and may change from day to day and some of the duties they perform may include:
- The provision of general clinical care to patients, giving medication, helping them up to follow accompany them in their daily routines especially those that have very limited mobility
- They may also provide education to the patient and their families in the use of the training exercises and equipments especially when the patient will have to do some of the rehabilitation exercises at home either alone or supported by family
- They can provide assistant to patients as required, in accompanying them during treatment and helping to structure exercise routines and scheduling programs
- They may also be required to monitor the performance of patients and record them. These will then be forwarded to the registered physiotherapist who will make further treatment decisions as required
- They may help in the care of equipment, making sure that the equipments are in perfect working other before procedures and ensuring that they are safely unplugged cleaned and safe for the next session or day.
Qualification and requirements
In many countries a physiotherapy assistant is required to complete a two year program leading to a diploma or certificate from an institution of higher learning, a vocational school or an accredited institution. In many cases some are able to get into this job position by undergoing several months of apprenticeship in a practice to get hands on skills.
Sometimes certain practices will require that assistants also complete a certificate in first aid medicine as well as a cardiopulmonary resuscitation program so as to be ready to deal with emergencies that may arise during the course of patient monitoring and treatment.
Physical therapy is a job that involves lifting, twisting, bending and a lot of walking all day long and assistants must be able to meet the physical demands of the job. They may also be required to learn how to use and operate the machines in the practice as well as be able to learn to handle new machines and with the use of computers in daily life increasing, they are usually required to be comfortable with using one during their working days.
Compensation and employment options
A physiotherapy assistant earns about $30,000 yearly on average and they are usually employed in hospitals, rehabilitation centers as well as in recreational centers and private practice.