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  • Patients and Mental Health: Let’s Keep the Conversation Going

    May 08, 2019

    We’d like to thank everyone who joined us for our webinar, In Harm’s Way: Strategies to Support Patients with Mental Health Issues.

    We received a ton of great questions before and during the webinar, and we apologize that we weren’t able to address everything in the allocated hour. It’s evident that this is an important conversation and that many physiotherapists are looking for ways to best support patients who disclose mental health challenges, while staying within their scope of practice.

    We were fortunate to have two extremely knowledgeable practitioners, Dr. Mary Preisman and Dr. Yvonne Bergmans, who shared numerous tangible take-aways and helpful resources that will benefit physiotherapists.

    Key Take-Aways for PTs

    • Remember that it’s not your job to counsel patients about their mental health. Obtain permission from the patient to discuss what they’ve disclosed to you with a more appropriate health professional.

    • Duty to warn may supercede patient confidentiality when there is imminent risk to the patient’s safety, the safety of another person or when the patient has demonstrated a complete inability to care for themselves. Imminent risk may include if the patient has told you they plan to leave your office and harm themselves or someone else. When in doubt, consider asking a colleague.

    • If there’s something that stands out to you about a patient, comment on it. This may include bruises, cuts or the way someone moves their body during treatment. Consider starting with “I notice there are some cuts on your arm, would you like to tell me about that?” As a physiotherapist you may be the first person to see cuts, marks or bruises on a patient’s body. Ask the patient if it’s something they may want to talk to someone about and then inform the appropriate practitioner. Acknowledgement and empathy can often lead to a conversation that ends up being quite helpful for the patient. Note that if the patient is under 16 years of age you are required to file a report with the Children’s Aid Society, and if the patient is 17 or 18 years of age you are still permitted to file a report if you have concerns.

    • Use your physiotherapy knowledge to help patients develop a sense of control. If you’re aware of how long the pain will last, how long the course of treatment will be or what experiences they can expect during treatment, always inform the patient so that there’s an end goal. This is especially helpful for patients who are struggling with chronic pain that’s impacting their overall mental health. As Dr. Preisman said, “as humans, we can tolerate almost anything if we know when it’s going to end.”

    How to Approach Discussions Around Mental Health

    The webinar offered a number of helpful phrases that PTs can keep in their toolkit should patients disclose that they have been abused, are experiencing suicidal thoughts or struggling with mental health. Remember it’s very important to be empathetic, non-judgmental, and to use words that feel authentic. Here are some examples:

    • I can tell that you’re really going through a lot right now.
    • I can see that you’re suffering.
    • What can I do to help you feel more comfortable?
    • I’m concerned for your safety.
    • Is it ok if I reach out to your family doctor to let them know that you’ve raised this with me?

    Webinar Resources

    Suicide Crisis Line Resources
    Resources for Youth
    Resources for Someone Wanting to Support Someone Who Self Harms
    Resources for People Experiencing Abuse and Sexual Assault
    Mandatory Reporting
    How to Box Breathe

    If you missed the webinar you can access the archived version using this link.

    More Strategies to Support Patients

    Have an idea for an upcoming webinar? Share your suggestion in the comments below!

    Key take-aways for physiotherapists from the webinar In Harm's Way: Strategies to Support Patients with Mental Health Issues.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • self-harm
    • suicide
    • webinar
    • duty to warn
    • support
    • Patients
    • mental health
    • blog
  • Patient Privacy, Dignity and the Importance of Draping

    Apr 11, 2019
    Full story
    • physiotherapy
    • dignity
    • privacy
    • patient
    • draping
  • Life as a PT in a Rural, Remote or Northern Community

    Mar 18, 2019
    Full story
    • professional standards
    • standards of practice
    • access to care
    • remote
    • Northern Ontario
    • rural
    • blog
    • physiotherapy
  • Empathy: Keeping the Caring in Health Care

    Feb 19, 2019
    Lisa Pretty, Director of Communications and Chair of the Citizen Advisory Group Partnership, breaks down the importance of empathy and the lasting impression it has on patients.
    Full story
    • College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
    • compassion
    • Ontario
    • patient consultations
    • CAG
    • citizen advisory group
    • health care
    • physiotherapist
    • empathy
  • Tele-rehabilitation – Another Tool in Your Toolkit

    Jan 23, 2019
    Full story
    • Tele-practice
    • Telepractice
    • tele-rehab
    • tele-health
    • telehealth
    • wearable
    • videoconference
    • tele-rehabilitation
    • telerehabilitation
    • technology
    • skype
    • remote
    • physiotherapy
    • physiotherapist
    • out of province
    • Ontario
    • Northern Ontario
    • internet
    • cross-border
    • cross border
    • Consent
    • communities
  • Privacy Laws: The Times They Are A-Changin’

    Dec 11, 2018
    Full story
    • Health Information Custodian
    • HIC
    • PIPEDA
    • PHIPA
    • technology
    • patient information
    • security
    • privacy law
    • privacy breach
    • privacy
  • Legalizing Cannabis: What Does it Mean for Physiotherapists?

    Nov 13, 2018
    Full story
    • treatment
    • Consent
    • physiotherapy
    • legalization
    • cannabis
    • blog
  • Supervising Physiotherapy Residents: An Important and Rewarding Role

    Oct 19, 2018
    Peter Ruttan, registered physiotherapist and Investigator at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, blogs about the responsibilities of a Practice Supervisor when working with Physiotherapy Residents.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • investigator
    • Peter Ruttan
    • Ontario
    • College of Physiotherapists
    • physiotherapy residents
    • supervision
    • practice supervisor
  • What I Learned from the College: Top Tips for New Physiotherapists

    Sep 17, 2018
    Guest blogger and PT student Ian Winningham shares what he learned during his clinical placement at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
    Full story
    • record keeping
    • accounts
    • billing
    • fees
    • physiotherapist
    • student
    • blog
  • What’s Your Piece of #MeToo?

    Aug 23, 2018
    A blog from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario's Registrar, Shenda Tanchak, discussing the importance of boundaries between physiotherapists and patients, in the wake of the Me Too movement.
    Full story
    • me too
    • patient
    • physiotherapist
    • Boundaries

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