Pediatric physiotherapy is effective in the management of perinatal conditions, conditions diagnosed in early childhood, and injuries sustained throughout childhood and the transition to adult care. Pediatric physiotherapy improves physical function and quality of life.Its longterm benefits are significant and include reducing disability and the need for surgery or other more costly invasive interventions resulting in a decreased burden on future use of health care services.
Role of Physiotherapy in Pediatrics
Pediatric physiotherapy services treat a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions in different settings, from acute care hospitals, to the community and schools. Pediatric physiotherapists assess, diagnose and treat neurological, developmental, cardiorespiratory and orthopedic conditions in children up to 18 years of age, with a focus on improving function and increasing independence. Physiotherapy has a positive and significant impact on pulmonary function, motor control, muscle strength, and physical endurance in pediatric patients with chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Physiotherapy interventions focus on movement and improvements in function to increase both the child’s and family’s quality of life. Improved function and involvement in daily activities provides more opportunity for social engagement.
Impact on Patient Experience
Pediatric physiotherapy services result in high patient and caregiver satisfaction.
- Physiotherapists provide individualized treatments to children with family/caregiver involvement resulting in high satisfaction of services.
- Physiotherapists are valued links to the family within the health care system and advocate for services to improve the health of the child.
- Physiotherapists, as part of an inter-professional team, assist in the transition to adult care by ensuring continuity of care.
Impact on Population Health
Early physiotherapy intervention to improve motor development in pediatric cases has a significant positive impact on health outcomes.
- Physiotherapy improves mobility, enabling greater opportunities for improvements in function and increasing independence.
- Physiotherapy significantly reduced the risk of pulmonary complications in postoperative pediatric cardiac surgery, with an absolute risk reduction of 18.3%.
- Exercise programs by physiotherapists, including aerobic and strength training, for children with chronic diseases and disability leads to improved physical fitness, quality of life, strength, pulmonary function and functional abilities
Physiotherapy assessment and management of pediatric cases results in significant long-term health benefits and decreased burden on future use of care services. Early physiotherapy management of motor development and mobility issues produces long-term positive impacts on health and enables the child to increase their independence. Pediatric physiotherapy also plays a significant role in ensuring the continuation of treatment while transitioning from child to adult care.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) represents physiotherapists, physiotherapist assistants and physiotherapist students across Canada. CPA members are rehabilitation professionals dedicated to the health, mobility and fitness of Canadians.
Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals who combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.
More than 20,000 registered physiotherapists work in Canada, in private clinics, general and rehabilitation hospitals, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces, and schools.
The CPA presents its educational references as a public service and for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CPA membership.