Case of the Month

Read real cases and their outcomes

  • Can’t We All Just Get Along?

    Sep 17, 2018

    The Case

    The College received a complaint about the practice of a physiotherapist working in a long-term care facility. The daughter of a patient raised three concerns including that the physiotherapist was identifying herself as a doctor, not providing accurate employment information and history, and acting in an unprofessional manner. 

    The patient’s daughter found the LinkedIn profile for the PT and noted that she was identifying herself as “Dr.” and including employment information that didn’t match the College’s Public Register. 

    As well, the complainant noted that the PT behaved unprofessionally—particularly with one physiotherapist assistant at the long-term care facility, to the point where it was referenced in the complaint as “harassment and bullying.”
    On one occasion, the physiotherapist yelled at the PTA in a common area, prompting a director to intervene and remind the PT to be respectful.
    Both the physiotherapist and the physiotherapist assistant were asked to leave work for the remainder of the afternoon. 

    A College investigator interviewed several staff members at the long-term care facility and while approximately half identified personal concerns with the professionalism of the physiotherapist, all of them acknowledged palpable tension and ongoing disagreement between the PT and the physiotherapist assistant. 

    The Standards

    The Regulated Health Professions Act stipulates that only chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, physicians and psychologists are permitted to use the title “doctor” or “Dr.” in the course of providing or offering to provide health care. This is further enforced by the College’s Restricted Titles, Credentials and Specialty Designations Standard.
    The College’s By-Laws require that members notify the College of any changes to their personal information including: place of employment, home address, telephone number and email address within 30 days. 

    The Collaborative Care Standard recognizes that in a collaborative care situation problems or conflicts may arise that could interfere with the delivery of safe quality care. It’s the responsibility of the physiotherapist to recognize the problems or conflicts and take reasonable steps to resolve them with the patient or the other care provider. 

    The Decision

    The physiotherapist indicated that in her home country the use of the title “Dr.” is appropriate for physiotherapists and assumed the same would be true in Canada. Upon being informed of the regulations she removed the title from her LinkedIn account, as verified by the College investigator. As such, the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee elected to take no action related to this issue. 

    Similarly, the Committee elected to take no action concerning the incorrect employment information of the physiotherapist as she indicated that she was unaware of the long-term care facility changing ownership and immediately corrected her information when it was brought to her attention. 

    However, regarding the management of challenging interpersonal relationships, the Committee felt that the interaction between the PT and the assistant undermined the principles of professionalism and mutual respect. The incident had the potential to disrupt the delivery of quality care as outlined in the Collaborative Care Standard.
    The physiotherapist was required to meet with a coach assigned by the College and successfully complete an educational course approved by the Registrar as part of a Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Program (SCERP), which will appear on the Public Register. All costs of the SCERP will be paid by the physiotherapist and she is required to complete a reflective paper at the end of remediation. 

    Restricted Titles, Credentials and Specialty Designations Standard

    Collaborative Care Standard 

    Comments about this Case? Please share below. 
    A College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Case of the Month about physiotherapists managing challenging collaborative care relationships.
    Full story
    • specialty designations
    • restricted titles
    • PTA
    • physiotherapist assistant
    • physiotherapist
    • physiotherapy
    • relationships
    • collaborative care
    • Case of the Month
  • Don’t You Forget About Me

    Aug 21, 2018
    College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Case of the Month about a physiotherapist who forgot about a patient during an acupuncture session.
    Full story
    • ICRC Committee
    • essential competencies
    • physiotherapy
    • acupuncture
    • Case of the Month
  • Caught Up in the Cryo Hype

    Jul 18, 2018
    A Case of the Month detailing how a physiotherapist wrongly incorporated cryotherapy in treatment plans and billed the services as physiotherapy, violating the standards of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist assistant
    • advertising
    • billing
    • physiotherapy
    • cryotherapy
  • You Can’t Laser Over History

    Jun 14, 2018
    June 2018 Case of the Month from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. The case outlines the use of laser therapy on a patient with a history of melanoma.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • College of Physiotherapists
    • essential competencies
    • record keeping
    • laser therapy
  • The Snowball Effect

    Feb 20, 2018
    Full story
  • No Laughing Matter

    Dec 11, 2017
    Full story
  • Cheung Charged – Not A PT: Always Check the Public Register Before You Hire

    Nov 13, 2017
    Full story
  • Pilates Problems

    Oct 13, 2017
    Full story
  • Is what you’re doing REALLY physiotherapy? Or is it something else…

    Sep 07, 2017
    Full story
  • I’m Pretty Sure That’s Personal Training, Not Physiotherapy

    May 10, 2017
    Full story
  • Using Restraints on a Patient: Helpful or Harmful?

    May 09, 2017
    Full story
  • Physiotherapists MUST register with the College to Practice in Ontario

    Apr 04, 2017
    Full story
  • Does Past Behaviour Indicate Future Actions?

    Apr 04, 2017
    Full story
  • No Second Chances When It Comes to Patient Care and Record Keeping

    Feb 15, 2017
    Full story
  • How to Be Insensitive with Your Patients?

    Dec 09, 2016
    Full story
  • Three Strikes, You’re SCERPed

    Aug 15, 2016
    Full story
  • When "I Didn't Know" Isn't Enough

    Jul 15, 2016
    Full story
  • Financial Irregularities

    Jun 15, 2016
    Full story
  • False Records: Case of the Physiotherapist and the Fake Massage Therapist

    Mar 15, 2016
    Full story
  • Clarity and Compassion Could Have Avoided a Complaint

    Jan 15, 2016
    Full story

Practice Advice

Free and anonymous advice for patients, physios, students and employers.
Learn More