Bailey Drennan grins when she's asked what drew her to the physiotherapy profession. "I think my career choice is really just my way of 'paying it forward' for all the times I required physiotherapy as a child," Bailey laughs. "I was a bit of a klutz!"
A graduate of Queen's University, Bailey is one of 21 physiotherapists employed directly by the CCAC across the North East. Last year alone, the small team, together with other contracted physiotherapists, made over 46,000 in-home visits, and an additional 3000 visits to children in school. No matter an individual's age, the goal of physiotherapy remains the same – to help patients increase physical function and safety, reduce pain, and enhance their general health and well-being.
At the North East CCAC, physiotherapists are an integral part of a multi-disciplinary team focused on supporting patients and their families through in-home and community care.
"Once the CCAC Care Coordinator determines that a patient would benefit from physiotherapy, I schedule a face-to-face visit to see how the patient is functioning in their home environment," Bailey explains. "Then we'll work together to develop a personalized treatment program to help improve their physical function, restore and reduce limitations to movement and mobility, increase strength and improve cardiorespiratory function, which has a beneficial impact to overall health. We can also help identify other resources and support services in the community."
The team aspect also carries over to the patient's family and caregivers.
"We educate and train family members and caregivers on how to best support the patient in maintaining independence, such as helping them with exercises and encouraging them on their path to wellness," Bailey says. "We develop goals together, and then work as a team to help meet them. It is very rewarding!"
Although therapy services are in great demand across the North East, recruitment of rehabilitation specialists can often be a challenge. Physio students complete courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology and biomechanics as part of their Masters level education. It takes six years to become a registered physiotherapist and all practicing physiotherapists are required to be members in good standing of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
According to Bailey, becoming a physiotherapist is well worth the effort. "Whether individuals are living with a chronic illness, recovering from a work injury or trauma, or simply suffering after a weekend hockey game, physiotherapy can improve their quality of life and in most cases, return them to an active, healthy lifestyle."
May is national Physiotherapy Month. If healthy aging is important to you, visit: www.physiocanhelp.ca.