Physiotherapist involvement in the pandemic era: a Lombardy region survey
In February 2020 the first COVID-19 case was reported in Italy and afterwards the virus started spreading rapidly, increasing dramatically the number of infected subjects. To face the pandemic outbreak, hospitals converted wards to assure COVID-19 patients’ care and adopted measures to reduce virus diffusion. The aim of this study was to determine how many physiotherapists, in the Lombardy region, worked during pandemic, whether they continued their usual practice or were employed in COVID-19 wards and in which tasks they were involved. The survey was submitted online by the national professional order. The response rate was 11.79%. During the pandemic, 648 (53.9%) respondents interrupted their services. Less than 20% of the physiotherapists that continued working were assigned to COVID-19 wards with the role of physiotherapist. Only a small proportion of respondents had advanced skills in respiratory physiotherapy. Moreover, this study showed a limited involvement of physiotherapists inside the very acute and intense settings. In conclusion, this work revealed that, during COVID-19 pandemic, in the Lombardy region a small percentage of physiotherapists was employed in COVID-19 wards, mainly in post-acute context. Even though the response rate of this survey was very low, this study highlights the need to define and underline the role of physiotherapy in acute setting during emergency.
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