Physical therapists spring into action on World PT Day What's inside this issue?

October 2010
Physical therapists spring into
action on World PT Day
What's inside
this issue?
PTs spring into action (p1)
Development goals conference (p2)
Art and health exhibition (p5)
New CBR guidelines launched (p6)
World PT Day reports (p7)
Destination: Amsterdam
Congress highlights physical activity
Swedish physiotherapists demonstrate the benefits of movement for health during World PT Day
Thousands of physical therapists around the world held events,
publicity and campaigns to mark World Physical Therapy Day on 8th
September. The theme of "Movement for Health" was used to highlight
the impact that physical therapists could have in promoting active
aging, and preventing lifestyle-related health problems such as
cardiovascular disease.
In Sweden, for example (see picture above), there were hundreds of
activities – ranging from lectures to lobbying politicians. With the Swedish
elections for parliament, counties and municipalities being held at the same
time as World Physical Therapy Day, it was an opportunity to raise
physiotherapy issues.
Preparations started in early spring with the launch of the “No election
without movement” campaign. All members of the Swedish Physiotherapy
Association had access to a campaign service from the association, and it
was possible to order flyers, brochures and T-shirts for free. For the second
year running, the association’s journal published a successful
“waiting-room journal” with content addressed to patients. All events and
media about the events were rapidly published on the official web-site and
on Facebook.
For further reports about World Physical Therapy Day activities around the
world, see World PT Day reports (
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
Evidence based practice at congress
Region News
South America congress (p18)
Member News
Argentine association focus (p19)
Subgroup News
Subgroup news in brief (p21)
October 2010
UN conference reveals the
impact of the global recession
UN Under-Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka addresses the conference in Australia. Picture: Mark
Jonathan Kruger of the Australian Physiotherapy Association
attended a United Nations meeting on the Millennium Development
Goals on behalf of WCPT. Here he recounts how he found out about
the devastating effect the global financial crisis is having on physical
therapists in developing countries.
Over the last two years, as the world has weathered the effects of the
financial crisis, much attention in developed countries has been inwardly
focused on concerns in our regions – such as bank bailouts, mortgage
stress and increasing unemployment.
Although the crisis has had a very real impact on the lives of many physical
therapists in developed countries, it is worth reflecting on how it has
affected colleagues living in developing countries. The opportunity to reflect
in this way was provided at the 63rd annual United Nations Department of
Public Information/Non-Government Organisations conference, which I
attended on behalf of WCPT. It was held in Melbourne, Australia in late
August, and its title was “Advance Global Health: achieve the Millennium
Development Goals”.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) arose after world leaders came
together at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September
2000 to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This committed
their respective nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme
poverty and set out a series of time bound targets – with a deadline of
These targets have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.
They were to:
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
eradicate extreme hunger and poverty;
achieve universal primary education;
promote gender equality and empower women;
reduce child mortality;
improve maternal health;
combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
ensure environmental sustainability;
develop a global partnership for development.
At the recent Melbourne meeting, delegates were informed that the financial
crisis is having an impact in several key areas of the MDGs, including those
related to hunger, child and maternal health, gender equality, access to
clean water, and disease control. It is expected to continue to affect
development prospects well beyond 2015.
As a result of the crisis, 53 million more people will remain in extreme
poverty by 2015 than otherwise would have. This is a staggering figure.
Even so, it was reported that the number of extreme poor could total around
920 million five years from now, marking a significant decline from the 1.8
billion people living in extreme poverty in 1990. So what does this have to
do with the physical therapy profession?
It was clear, from what was said at the conference, that the physical therapy
workforce globally has a key role to play in working toward achieving the
MDGs – particularly in eradicating extreme poverty as it relates to physical
In many parts of the world, the links between disability and poverty are a
reality of everyday life for physical therapists. Disability is both a cause and
a consequence of poverty – particularly in developing countries.
Physical therapists have long been acknowledged as important providers of
services for people with a disability. An appropriate level of physical therapy
can promote social inclusion through optimising a person’s function and by
encouraging participation in the economic and social life of the community.
Participation is, however, dependent on a number of factors including:
equitable access to health care and rehabilitation services;
optimal access to aids and equipment essential for function;
environmental access, including appropriate transport;
access to suitable employment;
adequate income support;
access to appropriate education;
access to appropriate accommodation and support.
In partnership with other stakeholders, the global physical therapy
community should be working to decrease disability as a key response to
the challenge of addressing poverty and achieving the MDGs.
Next year, at the 16th International WCPT Congress in Amsterdam, there
will be a focused symposium on “Physical therapy leadership in disability
and HIV: sharing international perspectives”. This will be an ideal forum for
interested physical therapists to meet and discuss ways in which the
profession can work together to help achieve the MDGs so that world
poverty is cut by half, millions of lives are saved, and billions more people
have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
Key facts on the MDGs
Progress since 1990:
280 million fewer people living in extreme poverty
40 million more children in school
3 million more children survive each year
2 million people now receive HIV/AIDS treatment
Challenges ahead
1 billion people in extreme poverty
75 million children not in school
10 million children die each year
550,000 women die from treatable complications of pregnancy and birth
Over 33 million people infected with HIV/AIDS, 2 million die each year
Half of the developing world lacks sanitation.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
How would you represent
physical therapy and human
This image of a Korean physical therapist treating a baby with cerebral palsy and leukomalacia
won WCPT’s first worldwide photography competition in 2008. It is now looking for photographs,
painting, drawings and sculptures that express the work of physical therapists equally well.
WCPT has launched its Art and Health competition. Selected finalists
will be shown at WCPT’s World Congress in Amsterdam in June.
The competition will focus on the theme of movement for health. WCPT is
seeking outstanding pieces of artwork relevant to physical therapy,
human movement in health and disease
people with functional limitations in action
physical therapy practice across the lifespan.
The original artwork should be in one of the following forms: photography,
painting, drawing, sculpture. The competition is open to both professionals
and amateurs. The overall winner will be awarded a winning certificate and
their work will be given a high profile within the Art and Health exhibit at
WCPT’s Congress. A photograph of their work will be featured on the
WCPT website and in the website’s photo gallery.
A maximum of three entries may be submitted by any one individual. All
entries must be submitted electronically (as a JPEG photograph). If a
photograph of a sculpture, drawing or painting is being submitted, the
artwork must be clearly visible and well-lit.
The closing date for the competition is 31st January 2011. Please email
entries (or direct any enquiries) to Mia Lockner at [email protected]
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
New CBR guidelines launched
New world guidelines on community based rehabilitation are to be
launched later this month (27th October) at the CBR African Network
Conference in Abuja, Nigeria. They are supported by the World Health
Organization, and have been developed with physical therapy input.
The new community based rehabilitation (CBR) guidelines are published by
WHO, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization) ILO (International Labour Organization) and IDDC
(International Disability and Development Consortium). Prompted by
requests from CBR programmes for a guide for managers, WHO led the
guideline development over five years, collaborating with programme
representatives, non-governmental organisations, UN agencies and
The content went through a series of drafts based on reviews by CBR
programmes, sponsoring agencies and organisations and technical
experts. Ann Goerdt, a physical therapist and former staff member at WHO,
was called in to help prepare the health component, and was closely
involved in preparing revised drafts after each review.
The guidelines contain:
a section on management;
components on health, education, livelihood, social and empowerment;
supplementary booklets on CBR and mental health, HIV/AIDS, leprosy
and humanitarian crises.
“The five components present CBR managers with information about the
activities of sectors which are particularly relevant for people with
disabilities,” says Ann Goerdt, who is Clinical Assistant Professor of
Physical Therapy at New York University. “Examples are provided to
suggest ways in which CBR programmes can work with the various sectors
to promote access and participation of people with disabilities. The health
component, for example, contains sections on health promotion, prevention,
medical care, rehabilitation and assistive devices. The emphasis is on
access to information and services, as well as on promotion of active roles
for people with disabilities in advising the health sector about their needs.”
WHO will host a planning meeting on the implementation of the CBR
guidelines on 25th-26th October in Abuja. The discussions will address
dissemination, training of trainers, pilot programmes and the roles of
stakeholders and networks to promote the implementation of the guidelines.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
The story of World PT Day 2010
World PT Day events in Nepal included demonstrations of how physiotherapists could improve
quality of life in older people.
All around the world, physical therapists used World PT Day, and the
weeks around it, as an opportunity to draw attention to the
contribution of physical therapists to national and international health.
Here are reports of some of the activities.
To celebrate World Physical Therapy Day, physiotherapists gathered at the
Pashupatinath Geriatric Centre – the only national home for older people
run by the Nepal Government. This was to demonstrate that
physiotherapists specialise in many areas, and geriatrics is one branch
where they can do much to improve the quality of life for older people.
Physiotherapists from the centre distributed orthopaedic aids and
appliances like walkers, canes, crutches and food – which provide very
important support for older people. The Nepal Physiotherapy Association
plans to organise a weekly free physiotherapy camp to improve the
movement and wellbeing of older people.
British Virgin Islands
World Physical Therapy Day was celebrated for the first time in the British
Virgin Islands. Activities included an open house with physiotherapists and
a chance to win prizes (such as a Blackberry phone and IPod) if they
answered questions about the profession correctly. Events were publicised
on local television, online news and print newspaper and were well
supported by the community.
St Lucia
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
The newly formed St Lucia Physiotherapy Association recognised World
Physical Therapy Day by working with weekend newspapers on the island
to produce several articles about the profession. On the same day the
articles were published, the association partnered the Ministry of Health in a
wellness exhibition, where healthy lifestyle activities were demonstrated.
The association introduced daily exercises related to diabetic care, foot
care, and healthy ageing.
In keeping with the association’s continued efforts to educate the
population about physiotherapy, it organised a booth at the annual Guyana
and Trinidad Insurance company fun run and walk, which was held in early
October. Physiotherapists talked about the effect of exercise on the body
and the benefits of regular exercise.
The programme of activities organised by the Bangladesh Physiotherapy
Association in September included a public discussion about physiotherapy
professional development involving several distinguished guests. It
published a colourful poster containing the World Physical Therapy Day
logo and slogan. This was distributed in different specialised and district
hospitals, private clinics, and urban and rural settings to increase
awareness among the public and doctors.
Bangladesh Television, the government’s national channel, aired a special
documentary about the importance of physiotherapy to honour the day.
There was an open disscussion programme for the All Health Professionals
Group on 8th September.
The Fiji Physiotherapy Association began the celebrations with a
conference on “Movement for Health and Diabetes” on 4th and 5th
September. The conference was opened by the Permanent Secretary for
Health in Fiji, Dr Salanieta Saketa, and the guest speaker was Margot
Skinner, the WCPT Executive Committee member for Asia Western Pacific.
The conference was attended by 50 participants, of whom 37 were
physiotherapists from all over Fiji. It ended with fun and networking, and
interviews featured in media coverage. During the week of 6th to 10th
September, each physiotherapy centre in Fiji hosted its own community
outreach programmes as well as in-house celebrations.
To celebrate World Physical Therapy Day in Mauritius, the Rehabilitation
and Health Society of the University of Mauritius in collaboration with the
Association of Physiotherapists organised an event that attracted around 70
physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, physicians and other guests.
According to Dr Basant Rai, from the Mauritius Ministry of Social Security:
“Mauritians lack physical activities. Times have changed and people are
overweight or malnourished and do not engage in any physical activity.”
The event highlighted the increasing number of patients who suffer from
stroke and the fact that 23 per cent of the population suffers from diabetes.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy carried out an extensive publicity and
awareness campaign throughout the week, demonstrating the benefits of a
healthy lifestyle and structured exercise programmes. It took its campaign to
the doorsteps of the public, providing professional advice on why it is
essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how to do it. The society
conducted basic screening exercise programmes at the National Sports
Medicine Centre, after an awareness walk from Lagos University Teaching
Hospital. Information flyers containing information from the WCPT World PT
Day toolkit were handed to the public.
The Association of Physiotherapists of Serbia celebrated World Physical
Therapy Day 2010 on the main squares of Serbia’s three biggest towns –
Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis. They held a Movement for Health performance
including children and elder adults. Physiotherapists demonstrated
exercises for children and gave advice to adults at an information desk. This
is the first time that the Serbian association has held an event of this kind.
All the national television and radio stations, and several newspapers,
provided coverage of World Physical Therapy Day.
The Namibian Society of Physiotherapy again decided to have a week of
activities, rather than one day, with activities including a formal dance and
three-course dinner, radio talks by various physiotherapists and a fun
run/walk. It also organised a 2km wheelchair race. The society now plans
to promote the profession during the year by publishing short articles in the
daily newspaper and in educational magazines.
Several institutions nationwide initiated celebrations, particularly university
physical therapy departments and student associations. They included:
a fun run and blood donation activities at Mariano Marcos State
University College of Health Sciences, Batac City;
a free physical therapy clinic and seminar on ergonomics at Angeles
University Foundation College of Allied Medical Professions, Angeles
physical fitness activity at University of Santo Tomas College of
Rehabilitation Sciences, Manila;
a symposium on rehabilitation and games at University of the East
Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center College of Physical
Therapy, Manila;
a marathon dance exercise, seminar on motor relearning, and variety
shows at Emilio Aguinaldo College School of Physical, Occupational
and Respiratory Therapy, Manila;
a free therapy clinic and a seminar on sports injuries and rehabilitation
at Dee Hwa Liong College Foundation Mabalacat;
an evidence-based practice conference at the University of the
Philippines College of Allied Medical Professions, Manila.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
Students and professors of physical therapy celebrated World Physical
Therapy Day. There were events at the Federal University of Paraná.
Students and staff from the physical therapy course at UFPR Litoral
performed workshops about pilates, shantala, manual therapies and other
areas to spread awareness in the local community about the work of
physical therapists and the different areas of the profession.
The United States
The New York Physical Therapy Association focused on obesity, designing
a two-week walking challenge where participants tracked the steps they
took each weekday for two weeks, using a tracking sheet and pedometer.
Over 100 physical therapists and students participated, with four members
of the New York State Assembly also taking part.
The reward for most steps was either a charitable donation or, for physical
therapists, registration to the state conference. The winner was Carlos
Lopez of the Greater New York district, who walked 198,066 steps within
the ten days. He asked for a charitable donation to be made in his name to
the Wounded Warrior Project, having been a member of the armed services
for eight years. New York State Assembly member Michael Benedetto also
completed the requirements of the contest.
"It was a great event to promote physical therapy in general, and specifically
the physical therapist's role in combating obesity" said Nathaniel Mosher,
Chair of the New York Physical Therapy Association Eastern District.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
Ten good reasons why physical
therapists should visit the
Netherlands next year
Canals, barges, bridges, bikes: a typical Amsterdam scene
If there ever was a good moment to travel to the Netherlands, next
year is your time. Here are ten good reasons to be in the land of tulips,
windmills and knee-deep culture in June 2011.
1. The International WCPT Congress
It’s the biggest world gathering of physical therapists, it’s a unique
opportunity to get a new perspective on your work, it only happens every
four years and this time it’s in Amsterdam. You can read about the exciting
programme elsewhere in this issue, and at, but
what the programme doesn’t show you is how much physical therapists
who attend congresses get out of it. “The congress has remained in my
memory since as a remarkable and inspiring experience,” said one past
2. Van Gogh
There are 141 art galleries in Amsterdam alone, and if you want to see
Dutch Masters – Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer – there is no better
place. There are 206 paintings by Van Gogh in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh
Museum and if that’s not enough, you can go to the Kröller-Müller Museum,
where there are a further 278. And if you’ve had enough Van Gogh, you
can always resort to Amsterdam’s 51 museums, 16,000 annual concerts
and theatrical performances, 55 theatres or 42 church organs.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
3. The house of Anne Frank
The Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht canal is a museum dedicated to
Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her
family in hidden rooms at the rear of the building. The museum shows the
hiding place, an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and
highlights all forms of persecution and discrimination.
4. Alkmaar
This picturesque city, to the north of Amsterdam, is one of the top
attractions of the Netherlands. It preserves a 17th-century pattern of canals
and narrow streets and has many historic buildings. The city is famous for
its nightlife and traditional cheese market, held every Friday.
5. An easy gateway to Europe
Getting to Holland is easy – Amsterdam Schiphol airport is one of the
largest in Europe and served by more than 100 airlines. There are other
smaller airports in Rotterdam, the Hague and Eindhoven and other cities,
which accommodate many low cost carriers. The Netherlands has a
famously efficient transport system – helped by the fact that the terrain is so
flat. Once you’re in Amsterdam, getting around is simple – by foot (it takes
on 45 minutes to walk from one side of the city to the other), tram, canal
bus, or bike. And there’s nowhere better to start or end a European tour,
with Brussels, Berlin, London, Paris and Copenhagen all within 500 miles.
6. Canals and narrow streets
There’s little that can beat the sight of tall Amsterdam houses reflected in a
calm canal. If you come to Amsterdam, you’ll see the scene quite a lot:
there are 165 canals, 1,281 bridges, 8 wooden drawbridges and 2,500
7. Windmills
They may sound a bit of a cliché, but the Netherlands’ windmills are worth
seeing because they are far more than ornament. They were developed for
corn milling, land drainage, saw milling and other industrial purposes, and
helped shape the country. There are 1150 of them to see, eight of them in
8. Cafe culture
After Scandinavians, the Dutch are the world's biggest coffee drinkers, so
you’ll discover a massive range of cafes with a massive range of coffees.
9. Green destination
Amsterdam markets itself as a “green destination”. Voted one of the
greenest cities in Europe, it boasts restaurants with sustainable menus,
more bicycles than cars, green taxis, low CO2 boats and
environmentally-conscious hotels.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
10. The International WCPT Congress
Did we mention this before? The beauty of combining a holiday with a visit
to the WCPT congress is that WCPT has teamed up with RAI Hotel and
Travel Service to provide discounted hotel rates for congress delegates.
Saving you time, money and hassle their online reservation system ( allows
you to search for hotels by star rating and area. Additionally you can view a
map showing the location of the hotel in relation to the congress centre and
find detailed information about each hotel. Discounted room rates at the
official hotels are limited.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
Physical activity at the core of
the profession – and the
A major theme running through the forthcoming International WCPT
Congress in Amsterdam is physical activity. At the core of everything
physical therapists do, the subject also permeates a wide variety of
congress sessions and activities. Simon Crompton examines how.
“There will be – quite rightly – a focus at the congress on activity and
health, and activity as a means of reducing disability and promoting
participation,” says David Baxter from New Zealand, who will be one of
those contributing to a congress session on how to monitor physical activity
levels among clinical populations.
“Physical activity sits at the core of the profession,” he says. “Evidence
supports the fact that such interventions can be highly effective in a variety
of conditions, but they are – at least in my view – under-utilised.”
Delegates attending the congress in Amsterdam next June will have a wide
range of sessions to select from to suit their needs best. The main congress
programme is being dovetailed with related activities so that delegates can
combine scientific sessions, such as focused symposia and discussion
sessions, with practical courses and clinical visits within their area of
interest. The theme of physical activity and health, like other themes (see
"Evidence based practice at congress") will be reflected in all the
programme elements.
Baxter, who is Dean of the School of Physiotherapy at the University of
Otago, New Zealand, will be contributing to an education session called
“Physical Activity for Clinical Populations: measurement and interventions”.
This will be part of the congress satellite programme which occurs just
before the main congress. It has been developed by Suzanne McDonough
from the University of Ulster, in the UK.
“We have been collectively working as an international research network
focussing on physical activity as an intervention for a variety of clinical
populations, including low back pain,” says David Baxter. “One of the core
themes of our research to date has been the use of activity monitors
(sophisticated pedometers) in free living to assess levels and changes of
activity over time. Colleagues are also interested in pedometers as a means
to increase walking in clinical populations, and novel devices for monitoring
activity during sleep.”
“Our main aim with the session is to provide an introduction to the use of
such devices in routine clinical practice, firstly using these as a means of
objectively monitoring activity, and secondly – and perhaps more
importantly – to review the current evidence for these devices when used as
part of interventions. Clinical areas we plan to cover include low back pain,
respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and sleep studies.”
There will be other education sessions within the satellite programme,
covering promoting healthy lifestyles to reduce the disease burden, and
physical fitness testing and training for older people. The theme of activity
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
and health will be reflected in a range of sessions within the main congress
programme too: for example, in the newly-announced discussion panel
sessions, WCPT President Marilyn Moffat will be chairing a session on
“Evidence based exercise prescription: raising the standard of delivery”.
A number of focused symposia (the showpiece events of the main
programme which draw together a group of major figures to examine the
latest advances on an important theme) will look at several angles on
physical activity, including exercise and cancer, fitness and physical activity
in cerebral palsy and global physical activity challenges.
Rik Gosselink from Belgium will be one of the main speakers at a focused
symposium entitled “Early Physical Exercise and Walking in ICU: accept
the challenge!” The symposium will focus on the management of critically ill
patients and examine how evidence now demonstrates that physical activity
is beneficial at the very earliest stages of recovery – even exercising
patients passively when they are still on a ventilator.
“In the past, we waited until patients were stable, and could cooperate,”
says Gosselink, who is full Professor of Respiratory Rehabilitation Sciences
at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. “Nowadays, we exercise them passively,
sometimes using forms of stimulation such as electrotherapy.”
“We’re now seeing physical therapists’ involvement in promoting physical
activity is widening. At one end of the scale we have patients who are very
ill. Then we are working with people who are inactive for long periods
because of chronic disease. And at the other end of the scale we are
working with active younger people who are achieving at the highest levels
of competition. It’s the full scale of improving physical fitness.”
The International Scientific Committee planned the programme so that
these sessions would appeal to a large number of delegates – physical
activity was one of the topics identified from market research undertaken
across the profession before planning started.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
How congress delegates will be
able to weigh the evidence
The importance of both quantitative and qualitative research evidence
to physical therapists will be examined at next year’s International
WCPT Congress. Simon Crompton talks to some of the main
contributors on evidence based practice.
A new international collaboration to produce evidence based
recommendations for daily physical therapy practice will be announced at
next year’s WCPT congress, as part of a range of sessions and activities
based around evidence based practice.
Philip van der Wees from the Netherlands, along with Chris Maher from
Australia, Christopher Powers from the United States, Aimee Stewart from
South Africa and Ann Moore from the UK will all take part in a focused
symposium where they will discuss a new international network of
researchers, clinical guideline developers and practitioners that will
collaborate in producing evidence-based recommendations.
“At an international level, we believe it is important to produce evidence
based recommendations, as well as guidelines,” says Philip van der Wees,
a physical therapist and human movement scientist from Amsterdam, who
has just been appointed Chair of the Guidelines International Network
(G-I-N) – the international not-for-profit association of organisations and
individuals involved in the development and use of clinical practice
guidelines. He was appointed to its board last October, the first non-medic
to be made a board member.
“We think it’s important to address the issue of how you apply evidence to
local situations. With short recommendations, of two to three pages, we can
say there is good evidence in these areas, and then leave it to individual
countries to develop full guidelines from these recommendations so that
they are adapted to local situations.”
The evidence-based recommendations will be derived from current high
quality clinical guidelines and systematic reviews. They should help physical
therapists make decisions in diagnosis and treatment.
According to van der Wees, there is still resistance to the idea of evidence
based practice (EBP), partly because of misunderstandings about what it
means. “People think it means that you should only do something if there is
100% evidence behind it,” he says, “but it’s actually a combination of
evidence from the literature combined with clinical expertise and evidence
from the patient. There’s lots of room for individual decision-making and
patient feedback.” In the Guidelines International Network, he said, there is
increasing awareness that evidence based guidelines needed to take
account of daily function, and not just medical diagnosis and treatment.
Chris Carpenter from the United Kingdom also wants to emphasise that
EBP isn’t always what physical therapists expect, in the focused
symposium she is chairing entitled “Qualitative Research Evidence: how
does it contribute to evidence based practice?”
“I don’t think EBP has been as embedded in the practice of many countries
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
as it should have been,” says Chris Carpenter, who is a Reader in
Physiotherapy at Coventry University. “Many of the barriers have stemmed
from a very narrow definition of EBP, and as physical therapists I think
we’ve hung too much on to the medical based model without questioning
whether it is appropriate to our practice.”
Physical therapists have to think beyond randomised controlled trials, and
towards the use of extended case and qualitative studies. “In the focused
symposium I’m hoping to introduce people to what qualitative research is,
and what it isn’t and its contribution to EBP,” she says.
Another speaker at the symposium will be Patty Solomon from Canada.
“My message would be that qualitative research has become
increasingly relevant as PTs have become more aware of the need for
patient centered practice,” she says. “Through a greater understanding of
the lived experiences of those with whom we interact, we are able to adapt
our assessment and management strategies to best meet their needs.”
Delegates to the congress will be able to follow other discussions and
sessions on EBP. In the focused symposia, there will be discussions on:
web-based resources to support evidence based physiotherapy
Cochrane systematic reviews – enabling evidence based
physiotherapy after stroke
development of evidence based recommendations for physical therapy
diagnosis and treatment.
There will also be education sessions on:
physical therapy in Parkinson’s disease: towards evidence based
evidence based evaluation and treatment for back and knee pain in
older persons
evidence based physiotherapy and assessment of quality of the
systematic reviews and clinical trials.
A discussion panel on research in the 21st century, led by Ann Moore, Chair
of the congress International Scientific Committee, is another session that
will engage delegates in debate. And journal editors and a range of
researchers will be available to talk to delegates about getting going in
research and writing for publication.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
PTs from around the world
attend South America congress
At the South America Region congress, from right to left: Brenda Myers, WCPT Secretary General;
Maritza Pecarevic from Chile; David Lopez, Chairman of the WCPT South America Region;
Marilyn Moffat, WCPT President; Lesley Bainbridge from Canada; Margaret Grant from Australia.
The regional meeting and congress of the WCPT South America
Region were held in August in Santiago, Chile.
“Both events were a great success,” said WCPT South America regional
Chairman David Lopez. “The regional meeting was organised in a friendly
manner and with constructive leadership, so the regional agreements were
very positive for the profession.”
The congress scientific programme included more than 30 international
guest speakers. There were more than 120 free paper presentations and 30
research posters by physical therapists from Chile and Latin American
countries. The main theme of the congress was the impact of physical
therapy on public health and primary care.
With more than 1000 physical therapists attending, the opening ceremony
was presided over by David Lopez, WCPT President Marilyn Moffat and
other distinguished guests including the Chilean Health Minister, Jaime
The congress had three main sessions in the morning and three in the
afternoon, each having around eight paper presentations simultaneously
conducted in four rooms. They were held on the 19th, 20th and 21st August.
A total of 12 pre-congress courses were conducted in different Chilean
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
Argentine association looks
forward to being embraced into
the world context again
At the recent South America Region congress in Chile, Argentine delegates gather with Marilyn
Moffat, WCPT President (centre) and Anibal Materi, President of the Argentine Association (centre
right) and David López, Chairman of the WCPT South America Region (kneeling).
In the first of a series of articles on physical therapy associations
expected to be admitted to WCPT membership next year, Dora Michaut
profiles the Argentine association.
The Argentine Association of Kinesiology (AAK) has been approved as a
provisional member of WCPT and will be presented for full membership at
the next WCPT General Meeting in Amsterdam in June 2011. This
milestone will mark the culmination of a long process, ending a period of
isolation for Argentine physiotherapy and reinstating it into the world
The AAK, a membership organisation, was founded in the early 20th
century, before the first course of study was created at the University of
Buenos Aires in 1937. In fact, the AAK holds the distinction of being the
first association for the profession in the South America region.
In Argentina there are seven professional titles considered equivalent to
“physical therapist”, with the most common being licentiate in kinesiology
physiatria. The title used depends on where the individual graduated, and
holders of any of the seven titles may be members of the AAK. AAK
members work in many environments across a range of sectors including
academic, private, public and mixed.
The overall mission of the AAK is to provide information and defend
members’ legal rights. It offers scholarships and permanent training,
workshops, talks and seminars. It brings together teachers, professionals,
graduates and students into one professional body.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
The Ministry of National Health requires a minimum of 2,500 hours in a
four-year university course to be officially recognised. There are currently
19 universities offering such courses – in 17 of them, the course is five
years long and students complete an average of 3,600 hours of studies.
Currently the AAK is working with these universities towards the
acknowledgement of the profession as one of “public interest” within the
Law of Superior Education in Argentina. This would lead to a greater
commitment by universities to provide high quality education in accordance
with the standards set by the Ministry of Health.
Professionals in Argentina can enter postgraduate courses to get a
speciality masters or doctorate degree. Many of these studies are
completed together with other health care professional such as medical
doctors and psychologists.
Specialisms in traumatology, orthopaedics, cardiology, respiratory care,
paediatrics, neurology, sports, acupuncture and critical care have all been
developed and achieved internationally recognised levels of excellence.
The AAK also works with most universities to organise and supervise
research groups that aim to promote the recognition of the professions
scientific base.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
is a registered charity in the UK, no. 234307
October 2010
Subgroup news in brief
Ros Thomas, the Treasurer of IOPTWH (the International Organization of
Physical Therapists in Women's Health), has been awarded a Distinguished
Service Award by the United Kingdom’s Chartered Society of
Physiotherapy. Her citation said she had “worked tirelessly and
enthusiastically” to promote physiotherapy in women's health. She has
served on the executive committee of the Association of Chartered
Physiotherapists in Women's Health in the UK since 1999.
Greece has had to withdraw as host country for the IPTOP 2010 Congress
because of the economic crisis. This means there will be no IPTOP
Congress this year.
IPTOP (the International Organisation of Physical Therapists working with
Older People) aims to collaborate with member organisations to host future
IPTOP meetings and congresses as part of their main meetings so that
members organisations in all regions have an opportunity to participate. It
seeks invitations from member organisations willing to include a meeting
within their main programme.
October 2010
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