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5 Myths about Physiotherapy Debunked for Students Interested in Physiotherapy Assistant Training

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Physiotherapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) play an important role in a client’s physical rehabilitation – the ultimate goal is to help them improve their physical capabilities as well as their overall confidence. As a physiotherapy assistant, you may meet with some clients who aren’t familiar with exactly what a PT or OT does, and may be nervous about starting a physical therapy session.

Whether you work in a private clinic, hospital, or home-care, you can help dispel some of the more common myths a client may be aware of, and make them feel more comfortable with the idea of physiotherapy as well as prepare them for their journey through PT or OT.

Read on to find out how your training can help you debunk some of these popular physiotherapy myths.

Myth #1: Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are the Same Profession

Although both involve similar aspects and common goals, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are actually two separate career options.

While physiotherapy aims to improve a client’s strength, mobility, and range of motion, occupational therapy focuses on improving a client’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). They are simply two different steps of the healing process, where PT treats the actual impairment and OT helps clients process and integrate their impairment in a way that keeps them engaged, capable, and independent in their own daily life.

Myth #2: Occupational Therapists Are There to Help Clients Find a Job

While the word occupational is generally used in the context of a profession, you should tell clients it’s best to leave the resume at home.

In occupational therapy, the word is used to signify a common activity that a person is engaging in – this can be anything from standing to lifting to even buttoning a shirt. It’s used in the profession because occupational therapists are there to support clients in performing these daily activities, and re-learning how to do them independently, without assistance.

Myth #3: Grads of Physiotherapy Assistant Training Only Treat Injuries

The idea that therapy exists to treat injuries is common, but physiotherapists actually do much more than that. Physiotherapy assistant training includes important lessons on anatomy and physiology, so you can better understand how the body operates as a whole, including when it’s injured. An injury, in fact, doesn’t have to be necessary for PT or OT – some clients may simply be facing challenges as they grow older, and may need help improving their mobility or staying active.

A physiotherapy assistant isn’t limited to only working with injuries, although this may be a common part of the job

A physiotherapy assistant isn’t limited to only working with injuries, although this may be a common part of the job

Myth #4: A Physiotherapy Session Has to Involve Pain in Order to Work

Many clients may be worried that their physiotherapy will be painful. While pain is something that is associated with the injuries physiotherapy addresses, the treatment itself shouldn’t actually be painful.

As a PT or OT assistant, you should work within the comfort zones of your clients, so it’s a good idea to check in, ask questions, and encourage them to communicate during a session. The goal is always pain-free movement, and you should revise your techniques according to your training from an occupational therapy assistant program anytime a client experiences pain.

Myth #5: Students in Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs Focus on Exercise

Because of its focus on the movement of the body, some clients may assume that PT or OT may involve exercise. While it’s certainly a component than can help improve body movement as a whole, the amount of exercise can vary from client to client, depending on the nature of their injury or individual needs.

Students at KLC College can use their training to tailor exercise techniques to each client

Students at KLC College can use their training to tailor exercise techniques to each client

A client with a knee injury, for example, won’t need the same types of exercise as a client who has a shoulder strain. It’s important to remember that clients will have different problems that need different solutions, and exercise should be approached on a dynamic, one-on-one basis, not prescribed generally.

Are you interested in a hands-on career helping others?

Contact KLC College for more information about our physical therapy assistant training program.

How You Can Help Clients Living with Neurological Disorders After Physiotherapy Assistant Training

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Among the topics you’ll cover if you study physiotherapy or occupational therapy assistant training are the fundamentals of neurological disorders. Neurological disorders are any condition that affects the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, for example. These disorders can cause a wide range of challenges for patients, but physiotherapy and occupation therapy can help to improve their quality of life.

The training you’ll receive in physiotherapy and occupational therapy assistant courses can prepare you to work with clients with neurological disorders. Here are just a few of the ways you can make a difference.

Physiotherapy Helps Patients with Degenerative Diseases Preserve Functions

Recovery is not always a viable option for people with neurological disorders. Specifically, if a patient is battling a degenerative disorder, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or Alzheimer’s disease, then recovering lost functions may not be possible or realistic. Instead, the focus of physiotherapy is often on helping the patient preserve the movements and functions they still have and compensating for functions that have been lost.

For example, people with Parkinson’s may have trouble maintaining balance. A physiotherapist can devise a treatment plan for the patient that includes exercises which are designed to help patients learn how to maintain their sense of balance using their current abilities. Under the direction of the physiotherapist, you can use your physiotherapy assistant training to assist the patient through completing these balance exercises.

Physiotherapy can help patients suffering from neurological disorders improve their balance

Physiotherapy can help patients suffering from neurological disorders improve their balance

Help Stroke Victims Recover When You Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Strokes are very common, and currently, about 400,000 Canadians are living with long-term disability due to stroke. Stroke often leads to neurological disorders that require both physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The specific type of disorders vary widely from one stroke patient to another, but some common disorders include weakness on one side of the body, cognitive decline, and problems walking. These challenges can make performing daily activities a challenge.

Broadly speaking, physiotherapy focuses on helping stroke patients regain physical movement, while occupational therapy focuses on helping them participate in and complete activities. If you become an occupational therapy assistant, you can help stroke patients find ways to re-train or compensate for these lost activities. For example, many stroke victims have trouble with short-term memory, which can make daily tasks difficult. An occupational therapist will devise strategies that can help the patient compensate for these memory deficits, such as using memory aids like notice boards and wristbands. As an occupational therapy assistant, you will be able to help patients learn how to use these aids and report their progress back to the occupational therapist.

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Can Help with Peripheral Neuropathy

Neurological conditions are not confined to just those that affect the brain. Instead, they are any condition that affects the nervous system. This includes the central nervous system, which is the brain and spinal cord, and the network of nerves located throughout the body called the peripheral nervous system. When the peripheral nervous system is damaged, it is called peripheral neuropathy, which can cause pain, numbness, loss of motor function, increased sensitivity, and many other issues. Peripheral neuropathy is especially common in patients with diabetes.

Physiotherapists may develop a range of exercises for patients with peripheral neuropathy that are designed to increase strength and improve motor functions. Physiotherapy assistants, under the supervision of the physiotherapist, help guide the patient through these exercises. Occupational therapy assistants, meanwhile, may—again under the supervision of the occupational therapist—teach patients how to overcome safety issues during daily tasks, like how to avoid falls while walking.

Physiotherapy can help those with peripheral neuropathy regain strength

Physiotherapy can help those with peripheral neuropathy regain strength

Are you interested in a fulfilling new career?

Contact KLC College to learn more about our occupational therapist assistant course.

Occupational Therapy vs. Physiotherapy: A Primer for Anyone Considering Career Training

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When many people think of occupational therapy and physiotherapy, they often assume the two terms are interchangeable. This confusion may be due to the fact that both were originally part of the same profession known as reconstruction aides, which provided rehabilitation services to war veterans. As the profession developed, new practices and techniques began emerging which offered better, more comprehensive approaches to physical rehabilitation, introducing the different areas of occupational therapy (OT) and physiotherapy (PT).

The ultimate goal of both professions is to improve a patient’s mobility and quality of life. While the two provide similar hands-on rehabilitative services, they often use separate approaches to their work. This means that there are a few distinct differences you should know if you’re considering a career in physiotherapy. If you’re interested in finding out which one might be right for you, read on to learn more.

Physiotherapy Emphasizes Body Mechanics and Gross Motor Function

Physiotherapy operates around the core idea of evaluating, diagnosing, and treating the physical source of a client’s injuries. A focus on how the body moves and operates, known as body mechanics, is a defining feature of physiotherapy. Body mechanics involves gross motor function, which is a set of physical skills that helps coordinate the overall movement of our body’s muscles to perform certain actions, such as swimming, climbing, or running.

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A career in physiotherapy emphasizes improving the way the body moves and operates

If you want to become a physiotherapist assistant, it’s important to understand the context you’ll be working in. Physiotherapists generally work towards improving strength, balance, and range of motion, so if someone has broken their arm, for example, they might visit a physiotherapist to work with them and advise them on injury prevention—including what physical activities they should avoid as they heal—as well as help them practice exercise techniques to improve mobility in their injured arm.

Occupational Therapy Professionals Work to Improve Daily Living Skills

While physiotherapy focuses on overall body mechanics, occupational therapy puts more emphasis on improving fine motor and cognitive skills. Fine motor skills are more particular than gross motor skills, and involve small muscular movements such as picking up objects between your fingers, writing, or turning the pages of a book. Occupational therapists—depending on their workplace setting—can include physical exercise in their work to promote the use of these fine motor skills, but they are more often focused on the cognitive side of physical rehabilitation.

Rehabilitating an injury is more than building back physical strength. It also involves the process of reintroducing and adapting yourself to your new physical environment. That same person who has broken their arm might visit an occupational therapist to improve their ability to perform daily living activities such as writing or buttoning their shirt with a non-dominant hand. OT professionals also assist their clients in areas such as self-care, homemaking, and socialization as a way to increase their overall sense of independence, as well as direct them to community resources that may improve their quality of life during and after their rehabilitation.

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Physiotherapy training can teach students to treat clients in many areas of physical rehabilitation

Finding Common Ground with Physiotherapy Assistant Training

Although physiotherapy focuses more on the body itself, and occupational therapy on lifestyle, both are two sides of the same coin—physical rehabilitation. PT and OT professionals operate from the same principles of pursuing health and well-being through hands-on care and client education, with PT treating the body through the muscles, and OT treating the body through the mind.

Understanding how both of these practices work together to heal the body is important when starting your new career, which is why physiotherapy assistant training offers the best of both worlds. Comprehensive training teaches you the anatomical and physiological knowledge you need to perform the right physiotherapy techniques, while also allowing you to explore different subjects such as ethics and professionalism, psychology, and neurology, that can enrich the overall quality of your services.

Whether you decide to follow your interests into physiotherapy or occupational therapy, you can use the skills you learn to build your foundations to a long and rewarding career helping others through the healing process.

Are you interested in taking the next step towards a career in physiotherapy?

Contact KLC College for more information about our career training.

Who Will You Be Helping Once You Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

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The overarching goal for any Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) is to assist in improving the quality of life of clients. Indeed, the fact that you’ll be able to help people in tangible ways may be one of the main reasons you’re considering a career as an OTA.

The people you’ll help are likely to have different individual needs and abilities. Here’s a look at some of the types of clients you might work with if you pursue a career as an occupational therapy assistant.

Children and Young Clients Present Unique Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants

Children and younger clients have a wide array of needs and goals that occupational therapy assistants can help with. OTAs work under the direction of an occupational therapist (OT) to help children develop their skills. While the occupational therapist will develop a program for the client, it is the job of the OTA to work directly with that client so that they complete the tasks in the program.

For example, occupational therapists often develop what are called “sensory circuits” for children with autism. A sensory circuit is a series of physical tasks, like skipping, juggling and wall push-ups, that helps autistic children activate or control their sensory-motor activity. A trained OTA will guide the child through each step of the sensory circuit and report back to the occupational therapist about the child’s progress with the program.

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Occupational therapy assistants put the programs that occupational therapists develop into practice

Occupational Therapy Assistants Improve the Quality of Life for Elderly Clients

When you become an occupational therapy assistant, you will likely work with senior clients. The needs of seniors vary considerably depending on their individual circumstances, which may range from struggling with Alzheimer’s disease to managing arthritis pain.

For a client suffering from arthritis, an occupational therapist may recommend a range of adaptive equipment that causes less stress to the client’s joints. Your job as an occupational therapy assistant will be to help the client use this equipment and report back to the OT about whether the equipment has helped lessen the client’s pain or not.

Occupational Therapy Assistants Help Support Clients Suffering from Terminal Illnesses

OTAs provide invaluable support to those who require palliative care, such as seniors who are nearing the end of their lives, or individuals suffering from terminal illnesses. The goal in end-of-life care is not rehabilitation, but it is to help the client feel as though they are still leading a meaningful life, even though they may no longer be able to do the things that were once important to them.

An OT will develop a program for the client, which may include small daily tasks like making coffee or performing simple exercises, for instance. When performed by the client, these tasks can help them feel as though they still have some autonomy over their lives. After completing your occupational therapy assistant training, you’ll be equipped with the skills to help such clients complete these tasks, or discuss with their caregiver how they can help.

Occupational and Physiotherapy Assistant Training Can Help Those Recovering from Injuries

An injury, such as from a workplace accident or a motor vehicle crash, can require victims to undergo extensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy. In many cases, the goal of the treatment will be to help the client achieve full or partial rehabilitation. If you pursue occupational and physiotherapy assistant training, you’ll learn much more about the steps involved in rehabilitating from a traumatic injury.

As an OTA, you could find yourself helping injured clients in a number of ways. One client’s rehabilitation program may focus on helping them regain their speech abilities, while another client might need assistance to improve their hand function.

Your role may also consist of helping clients learn how to use special equipment found in their homes, such as stair lifts, grab rails, and raised toilet seats, which can help them live more independently.

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As an occupational therapy assistant, you may help some clients regain hand function after an accident

Are you interested in becoming an occupational therapy assistant?

Contact KLC College today to learn more about our career training program!

5 Ways to Know if Physiotherapy Assistant Training is the Right Career Move for You

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Physiotherapy is a key facet of medical treatment, and helping people to maintain or recover their mobility is a truly rewarding experience. As well as carrying out some clinical care duties in the workplace, physiotherapy assistants are astute planners who provide expert advice on correct treatment plans.

It’s a career that suits people looking for an interesting mix of practical and administrative work. We’re always learning something new about the human body, and this constant evolution of knowledge keeps professionals interested and motivated throughout their career. Here’s how to know if physiotherapy assistant training is the right move for you.

Physiotherapy is Fascinating for Those who are Curious About the Human Body

The human body is incredibly complex, and the average person knows very little about what’s actually happening beneath our skin. If you’re fascinated by physiology, then a physical therapy assistant training program is a great career move.

You can use your knowledge to diagnose problems, design treatment programs, and work with physiotherapists to implement them over a short or long-term basis. Whether the client is recovering from a sudden fall, needs treatment for arthritis, or whatever else you are faced with, you will be in the unique position to offer advice and administer help to people in distress.

Clients could need relief from back pain suffered at work or at home

Clients could need relief from back pain suffered at work or at home

Excellent Communication is Important in Physiotherapy Clinics

Do you enjoy interacting with lots of different people during daily life? Because a physiotherapy clinic is a busy place to be, interpersonal skills are very important in this line of work. Clients require detailed instructions as to what they need to do to aid their recovery, and you must also be able to provide work colleagues with treatment updates. The physiotherapy team is wonderful to be a part of, as they all work towards a common goal.

Feed Your Passion for Sport in Physiotherapy Assistant Training

Whether you like watching or playing sport, it’s a passion that can take up so much of our lives. Some people are lucky enough to make it a part of their professional career, too, such as physiotherapy assistants.

In this challenging role, you can help athletes to reach their peak performance levels by working in dedicated sports injury and recovery clinics. It’s a wonderful thrill when you’ve helped a client to return to the playing field and can see them succeed once again after their injury challenges.

Clients Must be Able to Trust Physiotherapy Assistants

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the healthcare sector, so physiotherapy assistants must possess trustworthiness and supreme professionalism. This means respecting a client’s privacy at all times, treating their information with discretion, and ensuring that hard copy and electronic versions of individual client files are updated and stored with care in the workplace.

It’s important to be approachable and conversational with clients, but be professional at all times, too. The people you’re helping may be in some mental as well as physical distress, so provide them with confidence that you’re doing everything possible to help them.

Use Your Organizational Skills to Build an Interesting Career

Graduates of an occupational therapist assistant course are also well trained to handle important administrative work. Excellent organization is needed to develop care plans, maintain adequate stock levels in the workplace, and handle client records. The duties are broad and varied, but you’ll quickly be able to master the role if you possess good organizational skills.

Help clients to recover their mobility as a physiotherapy assistant

Help clients to recover their mobility as a physiotherapy assistant

Looking for a challenging and exciting career?

Find out more about physiotherapy assistant training at KLC College.