May is National Physiotherapy Month, a great time to highlight how physiotherapy can support healthy aging! As part of our celebrations, we’ve been sharing stories to highlight physiotherapists from across the North. Take a journey with us and discover how physiotherapy can positively impact your life.
For our second interview, we talked to Rae Marchal, a physiotherapist working at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in Prince George. Here’s what Rae had to say about her role as a physiotherapist!
Tell us about your work!
I work at UHNBC in Prince George outpatient musculoskeletal. So I see patients in the hospital but they live independently at home and are referred to me through their family doctor.
In addition, I also provide services through telehealth outreach to Fort St. James as part of a pilot project that’s been going on since November. I provide physiotherapy for a variety of conditions for those in Fort St. James. I have a person helping me in Fort St. James who can do some of the hands-on work, which has been really great as it can be difficult to do physiotherapy over telehealth without that person there.
How would you describe your work as a physiotherapist?
I would say people would describe my work as ‘classic’ physiotherapy – I typically treat injuries, joints, and muscles. I also work with the elderly population on fall prevention and rehabilitation, and with younger people who have injuries. I mainly use exercise as a form of rehabilitation, but I also use education and various other types of treatment to help people heal from their injuries and improve their quality of life.
What do you like about your role?
I really like that my role is social and I get to meet a lot of interesting people. I like helping people and the problem solving aspect of it. It’s also so great to collaborate regularly with other health care professionals, such as occupational therapists, and doctors, to provide a higher quality of care for our patients.
What impact does your role have on patients?
My role has many different impacts on patients: It helps speed up recovery after surgery, helps people live at home independently longer, helps prevent surgery in some cases of injury, and prevents people from losing their mobility (for example, keeping them walking instead of using mobility aid). Ultimately, I help to maintain people's quality of life.
The outreach work I do in Fort St. James has an additional impact on those patients as without my services, there is only private physiotherapy availably by telehealth. So I’m able to help patients who otherwise might have to travel to see a physiotherapist in person, or help those who aren’t able to afford the cost of private physiotherapy.
What’s one thing about physiotherapy that you wish you could tell everyone?
Physiotherapists work in many areas of the hospital. Also, physiotherapy isn’t just about lying on a bed and moving your arms and legs around; there are lots of different aspects to the care. For example, helping someone after they have a stroke or an amputation. There’s so much diversity in the role which I love!