Physiotherapy Services Facing Crisis

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When you have an accident or a condition the initial recovery is only half the battle. That’s why new numbers released by The Conference Board of Canada recently are very worrying.

The number of Canadian seniors getting physiotherapy is set to more than double to 1.5 million by 2035, according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada.

However, meeting the rising demand will be hard since there is already a shortage of physiotherapists.

“For seniors, the process of aging or even performing day-to-day activities in the home may lead to health conditions that could require physiotherapy services. And with the population aging rapidly, the number of Canadians with these conditions is likely to become more pronounced,” said Thy Dinh, Director of Health Economics and Policy at The Conference Board of Canada.

In 2014, Canadians over 65 made up 15.7 per cent of the population. This is expected to rise to nearly 24 per cent by 2035.

As the Canadian population ages, the number of seniors with conditions potentially requiring physiotherapy, such as hip and knee replacements, arthritis, and stroke will also increase.

As a result, the number of seniors receiving physiotherapy is expected to jump from 566,000 in 2014 to 1.5 million by 2035.

The aging of the population is also expected to impact seniors’ need for continuing care.

Maintaining mobility, independence and functionality are essential to helping senior stay at home, and this requires physiotherapy services such as fall prevention.

The number of seniors needing and receiving continuing care is projected to double by 2035 to 2.9 million.

However, since it will be hard to keep up with the demand for new physiotherapists the report also makes a few recommendations including: ensuring quality education and training, attention to recruitment for rural areas and using new technologies to improve access.

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