Physiotherapy association wants better access for patients

P.E.I. Physiotherapy Association is lobbying Health PEI for better access to physiotherapy, arguing that it would bring down average hospital stays for hip or knee replacements.

P.E.I. patients have longer stays after hip and knee replacements than Canadian average

P.E.I. Physiotherapy Association President Mark MacKenzie says there needs to be more resources for patients to access before and after knee and hip replacement surgeries. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

P.E.I. Physiotherapy Association is lobbying Health PEI for better access to physiotherapy, arguing that it would bring down average hospital stays for hip or knee replacements.

Patients on P.E.I. who receive a hip replacement stay in the hospital for an average of 13 days compared to the national average of six days, and average stays for knee replacements are about six days when the national average is four according to numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information for 2016-2017.

Shorter stays

Association president Mark MacKenzie said while the province has good orthopedic surgeons, there are minimal resources available in the hospital immediately following the surgeries for knee and hip replacements.

Health PEI says has its full complement of physiotherapists seeing patients at 1.6 full time equivalent positions at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (CBC )
"I think when we look at the investments in the physiotherapy services for those patients, I don't think it's substantial​ enough," he said.

"We have very few resources dedicated to that immediate post-operative phase." 

Full complement, says Health PEI

In a statement to CBC, Health PEI said the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where the surgeries are done, has its full complement of physiotherapists seeing patients at 1.6 full time equivalent positions. 

The average stay in hospital in P.E.I. is six days for a knee replacement. The national average is four days. (Shutterstock)

It said physiotherapists aim to see patients two times a day after surgery, and at least 62 per cent of patients are getting that second visit. 

However, Health PEI said the best practice is for these patients to see a physiotherapist three times a day after surgery. 

Investment lacking

"I don't think it's a huge leap to connect the dots between outcomes that are less desirable and minimal investment in a profession that's used all across the country much more effectively," said MacKenzie.

In P.E.I., the average stay in hospital is 13 days after a hip replacement. The national average is six days. (CBC)
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The P.E.I. Physiotherapy Association has a meeting with the health minister Oct. 16. 

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With files from Laura Chapin